Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that he plans to offload defender Matija Nastasic before the summer transfer window closes on September 1. Arsenal have a long-standing interest in the Serbia international and could now make a formal offer for his services.
Nastasic has fallen down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium following the £32 million arrival of France international Eliaquim Mangala from FC Porto.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are considering Nastasic as a potential long-term replacement for club captain Thomas Vermaelen, who joined Barcelona earlier this month, despite shelling out £16 million to sign Calum Chambers from Southampton.
Pellegrini happy to offload Nastasic
Pellegrini accepts that Nastasic, at the age of 21, needs to play regular first-team football but is unlikely to get the chances to shine with the Citizens this season. The Chilean coach subsequently admitted that the club are willing to listen to offers for the talented centre-back, who has made 50 appearances for the Premier League champions since arriving in England two years ago.
"Matija needs to play. We already have important players here, with Demichelis, Kompany, Mangala and Boyata," Pellegrini told reporters. "So we will see in the next few days what happens with Nastasic. He is an important player but he has offers and I think the best thing for him is to play.
"We have until the end of August to see what kind of offers we get."
Watch: Matija Nastasic in action
Juventus also want Nastasic
If Arsenal are to strike a deal with Manchester City for the transfer of £16 million-rated Nastasic, they will need to fend off competition from Italian champions Juventus. The 6ft 2in defender may be keen on a return to Serie A, having enjoyed a season with Fiorentina prior to signing for the Citizens.
Pellegrini would also be happier to sell Nastasic to Juventus, rather than a direct Premier League rival. City, however, have a good relationship with the Gunners - having acquired several of their players over recent years - and may reluctantly agree to return a favour.
The Citizens are also looking to sell Scott Sinclair, John Guidetti and Micah Richards, who was considered by Wenger as a potential replacement for Bacary Sagna, within the next fortnight.
Manchester City kick-started their defence of the Premier League title with a hard-fought 2-0 win over St James' Park on Sunday afternoon, while Arsenal left it late to beat manager-less Crystal Palace 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.