Arsenal prepare £10 million January swoop for United target

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Arsenal are readying a bid for Bolton defender Gary Cahill, according to reports.

The Mail on Sunday suggests the 24-year-old England international is nearing the Reebok exit as the Gunners prepare to step up their interest.

Arsenal are expected to do battle with Manchester United for the services of Cahill, who is thought to have caught the eye of both Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson with a string of imperious displays for the Trotters.

However, despite the Mail on Sunday reporting Arsenal will launch a £10 million bid, Bolton manager Owen Coyle has slapped a £25 million price-tag on his prized asset.

"There has never been any dialogue with me or any manager from another club about Gary Cahill this summer," he said.

“Gary Cahill is a player I want at this football club for a long time to come. If someone comes in with £25 million, any football club would have to look at that.

“I said that in April when he came back from injury and that’s where we are now. If that ever comes about the football club will look at it, but that’s not happening.

“I want him here. I want him to continue his development and I want to get him playing at a level where he’s in the England squad.”

Wenger is understood to be keen to bolster his Arsenal backline, and signing a player of Cahill's promise would prove to Gunners fans he is ready to invest heavily in his squad.

Arsenal have had their fair share of defensive woes in recent times, with the long-term injury of Thomas Vermaelen coinciding with the departure of three centre-backs from the Emirates Stadium.

However, Wenger did bring French pair Laurent Koscielny and Sébastien Squillaci to Arsenal in the summer to try to compensate for Vermaelen's injury, but his squad still lacks depth in the defensive department.

Although Manchester United have more defensive reinforcements than Arsenal, Ferguson is looking to build a squad for the future and is thought to have earmarked Cahill to one day fill the boots of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

United also have talented youngsters Johnny Evans and Chris Smalling on their books, and Cahill would only add to their impressive defensive depth.

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