Tottenham are fearful that any attempt they make to sign Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin will be gazumped by north London rivals Arsenal, reports The Telegraph.
Mauricio Pochettino tried in vain to bring the France international with him from St Mary's in the summer but a £10 million offer was flatly rejected by the Saints. They also retain a long-term interest in Jay Rodriguez, who has yet to recover from a serious knee injury sustained in April.
While any move for Rodriguez will wait until he regains full fitness, Spurs officials were ready to try and convince Southampton into selling Schneiderlin in the January transfer window. The 25-year-old is still keen to leave the south coast club despite the club's impressive start to the season.
However, Pochettino is worried that any attempt to sign Schneiderlin will be stopped by Arsenal, who have the resources to outstrip anything coming out of White Hart Lane. There is also worry that Arsenal's relationship with Southampton will give them an advantage in negotiations.
Arsenal have successfully negotiated deals to sign Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers. Chambers, who joined in the summer, was bought by Arsene Wenger for £16 million in a deal The Telegraph claims was negotiated with ease.
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The Gunners will go into the winter window prioritising a centre-back, but appear ready to make a move for Schneiderlin if the alternative is see him join their north London rivals. Arsenal's need for a physical midfielder has been widely cited as a reason for their poor form.
Wenger is rumoured to have £20 million to spend in the January transfer window, which would only be enough to cover Southampton's asking price for Schneiderlin. However, recent reports have suggested that Wenger would be willing to sell Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell to generate more funds.
Together, the pair should be able to bag over £10 million for Arsenal as well as free up significant funds for wages. Podolski alone earns £100,000-a-week at the Emirates Stadium.