Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has identified Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk as his top January transfer target, but won't be able to conclude this important deal on the cheap.
Van Dijk has attracted huge interest from the Premier League thanks to a string of impressive performances for Celtic over the last 18 months, with Manchester United, Liverpool & Tottenham Hotspur all monitoring his progress closely.
The Express believe that Wenger is by the far the most serious about tabling a formal offer when the January window opens, although Celtic are reluctant sellers and won't let the Dutch international go for anything less than £10 million.
Arsenal's need for reinforcements is great
Wenger has been forced to act after a poor first half of the season at the Emirates, although a large section of fans will say he's still six months late in attempting to replace former captain Thomas Vermaelen.
The Gunners boss allowed Vermaelen to sign for Barcelona without finding cover before the summer window slammed shut, which given the long-term Achilles problem Laurent Koscielny continues to struggle with looks a poor choice in truth.
Van Dijk ready to step up
After playing for Celtic in a Champions League qualifier earlier this season Van Dijk is cup-tied for European competition, but that hasn't stopped Wenger chasing a deal he feels could give his porous defence a huge boost for the second half of the season.
Next week will give Wenger the chance to open formal transfer talks with Celtic in an effort to sign the 23-year-old, which you have to feel will be received positively as the centre-back looks to make the step up to play in a top European league.
Given the interest in his signature Arsenal can't afford to haggle over Celtic's £10m asking price though, or they could quite embarrassingly allow their top transfer target to end up moving elsewhere.