Arsenal are planning a surprise move for Petr Cech in January, and hope to beat Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid to the Chelsea goalkeeper's signature by matching the £100,000-a-week wage he currently earns at Stamford Bridge.
According to The Sun on Sunday, the veteran custodian will be granted a move away from west London by Jose Mourinho out of respect for his service to the club over the past decade.
After losing his place in the Blues starting line-up to up-and-coming Belgian Thibaut Courtois this season, the Portuguese coach is willing to let the 32-year-old leave in order to secure regular first-team action.
Cech's prospective availability in the mid-season window has alerted a number of clubs interested in recruited the Czech Republic international, and it's understood that Mourinho is not opposed to selling to a direct Premier League rival.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is eager to take the talented stopper to the Emirates Stadium after apparently losing faith in his current No.1 Wojciech Szczesny, despite only offering the Pole a new long-term contract last November.
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A £7 million bid is believed to be enough to tempt Chelsea to cash-in, and Arsenal are willing to pay that in an attempt to strengthen their dodgy defence for the second half of the 2014/15 campaign.
Louis van Gaal, Brendan Rodgers and Carlo Ancelotti have all been mooted as admirers of Cech as well, but crucially for Wenger, the fact that the Blues legend is settled in the capital means that he is likely to favour a short-distance transfer which puts the Gunners in pole position.
With 18 months still to run on his existing deal, Chelsea are of course in no hurry to sell, and Cech has already confirmed that the club will have the final say on his future, meaning there's a chance he'll have to stay and play second fiddle to Courtois.
However, if Mourinho is as good as his word, then expect to see the player on the move when the transfer window reopens at the turn of the year.
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