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Arsenal rival European giants for services of defensive gem

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Arsenal are looking to significantly bolster their ranks this summer, after another disappointing campaign has left the Gunners poised to miss out on a top-four Premier League finish for the second season in a row.

Major changes are expected in north London this summer, both on and off the field, and one area of focus is likely to be in defence, where Arsenal are set to lose captain Per Mertesacker to retirement this summer and have question marks lingering over the ability of a number of their other central options.

The Sun reports that this will lead Arsenal to venture into the transfer market for a replacement, stating that Arsene Wenger’s side are ready to go head-to-head with Barcelona for the services of Ajax ace Matthijs de Ligt.

18-year-old de Ligt was scouted by the Gunners during the international break, with Holland losing 1-0 to England at Wembley, and Arsenal are ready to join the fight for the defensive gem, who has previously attracted interest from Manchester United and Manchester City.

His services would prove to be extremely costly though, as the teenager is tied down to a contract until 2021 and has already established himself as a key-part of the Eredivisie side.

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