Arsenal are stepping up their hunt for a new defender with reports claiming the club have opened talks with Werder Bremen for Per Mertesacker.
The Germany international stopper is now into the final year of his contract with the Weserstadion outfit and he could leave on a free transfer next summer.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has moved to solidify his backline following a humiliating 8-2 demolition job at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Arsenal have money to spend following the summer exits of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively and it seems Wenger sees the 75-cap Mertesacker as the man to help plug the team's defence.
Earlier on Tuesday, Bremen general manager Klaus Allofs insisted the club had not received an offer from Arsenal for the centre-half, although he expected the Premier League side to attempt to sign a defender.
It could be a double defensive deal for Arsenal ahead of the close of the transfer window with Fenerbahce's Brazilian left-back Andre Santos due to have a medical at the club ahead of a £6.2million switch.
"So far we've not received any offers for Per Mertesacker," Allofs told BILD.
"I'd imagine clubs could still come up with bids and I can foresee Arsenal lining up further moves for players, of course.
"I spoke with Arsene Wenger about new defenders a while ago at the recent 2010 World Cup. Back then he said they were looking for defenders."
Mertesacker himself has simply acknowledged that he is under contract with Werder, although he accepts that anything can happen in football.
"I have a contract at Werder Bremen and I like very much being at this club," he told BILD.
"However, this is football and in football one should never say never."