Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been urged to try and beat Juventus to their imminent signing of Ajax skipper Matthijs de Ligt.
The Holland star has been a target for a host of clubs this summer, including the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool, after an incredible season but looks certain to be heading for Turin.
The 19-year-old is said to have already agreed a five-year deal with the reigning Serie A champions, who appointed Maurizio Sarri as their new coach in June.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are reported to be closing in on 18-year-old centre-back William Saliba from Saint-Etienne, although Emery is said to be after another defender as he looks to shore up a Gunners rearguard that struggled last season.
And former Highbury favourite Paul Mariner believes De Ligt is the dream player for Emery.
The ESPN FC pundit said: “The one thing that they need is a central defender.
“There’s a guy floating around, he’s not quite signed for Juve, he’s not quite signed for Barca, whoever you want to talk to.
“The young Ajax player, he’s terrific. That’s exactly what you want. He’s a young kid, you can build a side around him.
“Ten years you’d get out of him, he’s a fantastic footballer. Go and start from those areas because in most Arsenal fans’ opinion, at the back is where they need to build.
“[Laurent] Koscielny is just going over the hill now. Signing somebody like that is a statement signing.
“But it’s never going to happen, I wish it would.”
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