Arsenal eye United defender as replacement for Sagna.
Arsenal could be set to try their luck with a £17m bid for Manchester United right-back Rafael da Silva as they eye a replacement for the departing Bacary Sagna, fanatix understands.
The Gunners were dealt the blow of long-serving defender Sagna joining rivals Manchester City on a free transfer on Friday, and now have a serious gap to fill on the right-hand side of their back four going into next season.
Toulouse youngster Serge Aurier, currently on international duty with Ivory Coast at the World Cup finals in Brazil, is also believed to be of Arsene Wenger’s top targets for that position, though it now looks as though he could also be interested in making a raid on United after a highly disappointing season in 2013/14 saw them finish outside the Champions League places.
United had a disastrous year under David Moyes, who was sacked at the end of April, and eventually finished in seventh place and without any silverware, raising some doubt about the futures of some of their key players.
The appointment of Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal looks to have restored some optimism at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils widely expected to spend heavily on big names to improve their chances of returning to the top next season, but Arsenal are hoping to make a significant raid on their troubled rivals with a bid for Rafael.
The Brazilian was a top performer for United as they won the Premier League title in 2012/13, but suffered something of a dip in form the following season after finding himself in and out of the starting lineup under Moyes.
Wenger remains a fan of the 23-year-old though, and sees him as an ideal long-term replacement for Sagna at right-back, though there’s no doubt United will be keen to avoid losing a key player to a rival on the cheap.
Valued at around £13m, United are expected to ask for significantly more from another English club, and Arsenal hope to make some headway with an opening offer of £17m, though it could be that they will be forced to go higher if they remain seriously intent on bringing the player to the Emirates Stadium for next season.
Very few players have moved between the two clubs due to their recent rivalry in the Premier League era, with Robin van Persie being a notable example when he made a controversial switch to United from Arsenal in 2012.
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