Arsene Wenger has dispatched chief scout Steve Rowley to run some final checks over Ipswich Town youngster Tyrone Mings, reports The Mail.
Mings has developed into one of the best defenders in the Championship and is attracting interest from Manchester United, Everton and Newcastle as well as the Gunners. The imposing 21-year-old is currently plying his trade at left-back for the Tractor Boys but, at six foot, two inches, has been tipped to succeed at centre-back.
That versatility has made him an attractive proposition for Wenger, who has been exposed for his failure to replace Thomas Vermaelen in the summer. Arsenal scout Paul Holland was present for the match against Watford last weekend and was adequately impressed to recommend that Rowley make his own personal report.
It is now growingly clear that Mings is one of Wenger's top priorities for the January transfer window. It also suggests that the Arsenal boss is ready to give up on the struggling Nacho Monreal.
At five foot, eight inches, Monreal was never built to be a Premier League centre-back and has struggled to adapt his game to cover for the injured Laurent Koscielny. The Spain international has also struggled to convince in his natural position since arriving in January in 2013.
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Mings was part of the same youth set-up at Southampton as Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but was released by the Saints in 2009. He later joined Chippenham Town where Mick McCarthy signed him for a paltry £10,000 in 2012.
Now they could be set to cash in on him for as much as £10 million and Ipswich will be hoping more than one interested party comes in to create the perfect conditions for a bidding war.
Louis van Gaal is thought to be a keen admirer of the young defender, but the addition of Marcos Rojo may have limited potential first team opportunities at Old Trafford. However, doubts over Chris Smalling's future means a space may open up in the near future.