Arsenal have been rebuffed in their interest of Italian youngster Alessio Romagnoli after his current club Roma said the centre-back would not come cheap.
The 20-year-old had an impressive season on loan from his parent club at Sampdoria last season and is tipped to have a bright future in Rome, but interest from elsewhere could see the Italian side cash in on Romagnoli's potential if the right offer is received.
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The imposing defender is comfortable at centre-back and left-back and could be seen by Arsene Wenger as the ideal long term replacement for Per Mertesacker in the heart of Arsenal's defence.
Wenger has publicly stated that are do not need to sign a defender this summer, however, that may not stop him from going through with a deal and, according to the Telegraph, they have been talks with Roma.
Having made his debut for Roma at the age of 17, Romagnoli made 13 appearances for La Maggica before a season on loan at Sampdoria. The youngster was influential during this spell, playing 30 games as Sampdoria finished 7th in Serie 'A'.
Arsenal are short on numbers in the centre of defence. Laurent Koscielny and Mertesacker are a mainstay in the line-up, while Gabriel Paulista is yet to prove himself in the Premier League since his £11.3m move from Villarreal. Calum Chambers is also capable of playing central but was often deployed at right-back before the emergence of Hector Bellerin.
There is no question the Gunners could do with another body in the centre of defence. Just look back to last season. A couple of injuries and Arsenal were forced to deploy Nacho Monreal in the heart of their defence.
The addition of Romagnoli would give Arsenal an option in numerous positions and with their reported interest in Napoli left-back, Faouzi Ghoulam, could be a smarter option that would allow Monreal, who excelled at full-back last season to push himself ahead of Kieran Gibbs, to stay at the club.
The £24.4m fee may seem steep for a 20-year-old, who has only made 13 appearances for his club, but in the crazy world of football we live in, it would be an easily justifiable fee purely for the potential shown by a player who has a bright future in the game.
Despite Italy's disappointing campaign at the European Under-21's Championships, Romagnoli was on the brighter sparks at the heart of the defence. He was effective in nullifying a certain Harry Kane in their 0-0 draw with England, mind you
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