Arsenal defender target Jan Vertonghen has given a clear indication that he is considering an Ajax exit.
The Belgian international has been linked with a string of clubs across Europe, with Manchester City the latest to take an interest after Roberto Mancini made a personal scouting trip to watch the player over the weekend.
Arsene Wenger has long been regarded as the favourite to land the player, with the Gunners boss hoping compatriot Thomas Vermaelen could play a part in persuading the 24-year-old that his future could be at the Emirates.
It appears certain to be away from the Amsterdam Arena and the Eredivisie though, with Vertonghen admitting he may have to leave to further his own individual career.
"It is unrealistic to think players will stay in the Netherlands until they reach 27 years of age. My goal for this season was to maintain a regular place and play between 25 and 30 games. I did that and it is time to consider a transfer," said the centre back.
"I have something with England - especially with the nostalgic atmosphere around the football. If I could make the step then I would prefer to play in a footballing team, but I won't go to a club where I am given the task to play the long ball," Vertonghen told Algemeen Dagblad.
Whilst Arsenal are not mentioned specifically, there style of football is regarded as one of the best in Europe, with few playing a better style of passing football under the watchful eye of their French manager.
Mancini is a threat for the signature though, with Ajax coach Frank De Boer confirming the club were aware of the Italian's presence during the Dutch Cup final.
"We know that Mancini was there. And I know the rumours from England that City wants him. One and one is two."
SetantaSports claim the news could scare Arsenal into making a firm offer for the player, with the Gunners known to be in the market for a defender.
Wenger has been promised money to spend this summer by the owners, with a £40 million transfer war chest believed to be at the Arsenal manager's disposal.
Whilst the north Londoners may struggle to compete with the Citizens financially, Vertonghen's comments could have given Arsenal the edge and the club are expected to move quickly once they make their decision over a top defender target.
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