The Gunners were believed to be interested in taking defender Smalling last summer as part of a potential package deal for former captain Thomas Vermaelen, although such a move never materialised and the latter eventually went on to complete a switch to Catalan giants Barcelona.
That failure does not appear to have put an end to the pursuit, however, with the latest reports from the Daily Mail suggesting that Arsenal are ready to make another attempt to bring Smalling to the Emirates Stadium in January.
Arsene Wenger's desire to improve his defensive options is no surprise, with the Frenchman having endured somewhat of an injury crisis in that particular area during recent weeks.
As well as losing new recruit Mathieu Debuchy for at least the next six weeks - possibly much longer if the ankle injury he sustained during last week's eventful draw with Manchester City requires surgery - Arsenal were also without Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal for the dismal Champions League defeat away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Although the former returned for yesterday's confident 3-0 victory over high-flying Aston Villa, such an unfortunate spate of fitness issues appears to have alerted Wenger to the lack of depth available in certain areas of his current squad.
Will Van Gaal sell?
Manchester United were notably and understandably reluctant to part with Smalling following Louis van Gaal's arrival at Old Trafford.
This was presumably in part due to the fact that there is a prevailing belief at the club that the 24-year-old is capable of becoming a top Premier League centre-back, but also because of a chronic lack of replacements available.
If Manchester United were to sanction the sale of Smalling to a perceived rival in the new year, one would imagine Van Gaal would have to line up at least one new defender of his own first.