Gunners switch desperate defender sights to €7.5m Italian international

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Arsenal are being linked with a move for veteran Italian international Nicola Legrottaglie.

The Juventus centre back has been linked with a number of British clubs in the press this morning, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger one of those thought to be monitoring the situation, according to the Daily Mail.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is also thought to be keen on the player, while SPL giants Rangers are the other outfit believed to be in the transfer race.

Wenger confirmed yesterday that the Gunners were considering a January move for a defender following the injury to Sébastien Squillaci, who joins Thomas Vermaelen on the treatment table at the Emirates.

Gary Cahill, Per Mertesacker and Phil Jagielka are also thought to be on the Arsenal radar with less than three weeks remaining in the window, but Legrottaglie provides an experienced option unlike the other three.

A product of the Bari youth system, he made his debut for the club in 1994 before moving to Chievo in 1998. After five years and a couple of loan spells, the player's big break came in 2003 with a €7.5 million move to the bianconeri.

Despite a couple of short stints away from the Stadio Olimpico, Legrottaglie went on to become a first team regular for the Old Lady, and featured in the majority of Serie 'A' games for the club last season.

However, with his contract set to expire in the summer, clubs have started to take the interest in the player, and Juventus could accept a discount offer for the player.

This could appeal to Arsenal, as the need for short-term reinforcements appears greater in north London than at the other two admirers.

That said, Legrottaglie could sign a pre-contract agreement with another club at this time, meaning Arsenal will have to move quickly if they want to secure the signature of the 34-year-old.

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