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SkySports - Arsenal closing in on £35.5million centre-back signing

Arsenal are reportedly preparing £35.5million bid to seal the transfer of Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia this January as the club could have plenty to spend.

Arsenal are looking likely to sell Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil this winter instead of losing the pair for nothing next summer and could kick-start their spending with an offer for Benatia, according to Sky Sport Italia, as translated by the Daily Express.

Benatia, Morocco international is regarded as one of the top centre-backs in Europe, having shone for Juventus brilliantly as well as his former side Bayern Munich and AS Roma down the years.

There's no denying that Arsenal could do with a signing of Benatia's calibre at the back this season, with Laurent Koscielny perhaps looking past his best and with Shkodran Mustafi struglling for consistency.

Our captain Per Mertesacker is also set to retire at the end of the season, so the signing of the Morocco international could be a smart move by the Gunners.

The Daily Express claim the North London club are set to bid £35.5m for Benatia, and suggest that might be enough to persuade the reigning Serie A champions to let him go.

The report goes on to say that the inclusion of Benatia to the Arsenal squad could be one of many this January if Sanchez, Ozil and other players in the likes of Jack Wishere and Theo Walcott leave the Emirates Stadium.

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