Arsenal are reportedly preparing a January move for the Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall – after the Gunners sent scouts to watch him for the second time this season.
According to Nottinghamshire Live, Arsenal have shown a real interest in signing the defender since October.
The Gunners sent scouts to watch Worrall in action against Chelsea in the FA Cup – the second time this has happened in as many months.
Sheffield United have also been mentioned as suitors, having also watched the player, but it seems the Gunners look more likely to pounce with Worrall set to become the first signing of the Mikel Arteta era at the Emirates.
The 22-year-old has caught the eye this season, commanding a Forest team which has only conceded 25 times in the Championship.
The Reds are currently sitting fourth in the table after a strong start to the season – with Forest team mate Matty Cash also attracting interest from the top tier.
Speaking to NottinghamshireLive, Forest legend and European Cup winner Gary Birtles was keen to give the young players some advice amid the transfer speculation.
He said: “If I could give them one piece of advice it would be to ignore any rumours about their future and just get their heads down.
“That’s what has brought them so much success this season so they should carry on just as they have been. If you start getting above yourself then that’s where you come undone.
“Neither player strikes me as someone that will lose their way.”
Worrall was sent out on loan to Rangers last season and Birtles believes the loan move has made a huge contribution to his strong league form this campaign.
He added: “Worrall knows what it is like to be at a low ebb. It’s not too long ago that he could not get in the Forest team and he was shipped out on loan to Rangers.
“That is an experience that will have served him really well. Playing at a massive club like Rangers can only toughen you up.”
Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi will be looking to retain his squad to keep up a promotion push – if Arsenal are to make their move on Worrall it may fetch a pretty price for Forest.