Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that he's paying a premium to secure the services of Southampton defender Calum Chambers, in a deal which is expected to be officially confirmed later today.
The Gunners have decided to spend an initial £12m on the versatile starlet, who should complete the switch in time to join his new team-mates in Austria for a four-day training camp this week.
Wenger has proven with past moves for Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that he's not afraid to spend big in search of top talent, particularly Southampton's, but the Chambers bid has still come as some surprise and forced the Frenchman to concede signing homegrown talent costs more than it should.
In an interview with the Daily Mail the Gunners boss admitted a deal for Chambers was close, revealing: "He hasn’t played many games but the English players on the market in England are very expensive.
"At the end of the day I was ready to take a gamble because he is a one for the future. He is a player I wanted because I rated his quality and intelligence.
"He is only 19 and can play at centre-back, right-back and central midfield. I hope he will give us competition for the players in those three positions."
Jack of all trades
Chambers has been picked ahead of other targets because he is equally adept in a number of different positions. The 19-year-old has made all of his 22 Premier League appearances for Saints as a full-back, but is used by England's under-19 side as a central defender.
Defensive midfield is also a role that Wenger feels the promising youngster can add to his repertoire, providing valuable cover in areas where Arsenal will need strength in depth to challenge over a gruelling campaign.
Wenger willing to spend
Once the capture of Chambers has been confirmed Arsenal will have four summer signings ready to fight for a place in the starting XI this season, with deals for David Ospina, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez already signed and sealed.
Wenger has quickly used a lucrative new £150m partnership with Puma to his advantage and proved he's willing to spend this summer, a spree that may not be over just yet.
Arsenal are still in the market for a holding midfielder despite believing Chambers could eventually fill that role, while a move for another central defender may still be a necessity if club captain Thomas Vermaelen moves on.
Chambers is an exciting fourth addition though and shows Arsenal will give the platform for young English stars to prove their worth, with strong competition for places in close to every position.
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