Arsenal are about to make a £10 million (Sh1.3 billion) bid for Kenyan international Victor Mugubi Wanyama in order to thwart interest in him from English champions Manchester City, sources say.
Manchester United are also said to be eyeing the star central midfielder, who was a key part of Scottish champions Celtic’s league success last season.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is said to have had the 21-year-old watched for the third time in eight days as Celtic met Inter Milan on Saturday as part of the Scottish side’s 125th anniversary celebrations.
The Gunners have had challenges at the back over the past two seasons and Wanyama is seen as a potential answer to the problem, particularly as he can play as a defensive midfielder as well.
Tried and tested in Europe
Wanyama is tried and tested in European competition, which will be vital for Arsenal in the Champions League this year.
Celtic have already rebuffed an inquiry from another London club, Queens Park Rangers (QPR), at the beginning of the current transfer window.
Wanyama has already indicated his desire to play in the Barclays Premier League.
“I’m proud that I’m the first Kenyan player to play in the UK and I’d be very happy also to be the first Kenyan to play in the Premier League,” Wanyama told The National newspaper earlier this summer.
“I think the Premiership is the dream of so many players, so I’d be happy to play there. There are a lot of good clubs in England.
“I’ve been happy here, and the fans have been brilliant with me. But it would not be a terrible thing for me if the club agree to let me go, and they get a good offer.”
Celtic’s Glasgow rivals Rangers’ expulsion to the Scottish Third Division has increased concerns that Waynama’s development might be stalled by a second season in the Scottish Premier League as the league is expected to be a one-horse race.