Arsenal are working on a deal to sign French defender Kevin Malcuit as a replacement for injured star Hector Bellerin, according to France Football.
The French magazine claim the Gunners are “clearing aiming” to land the 27-year-old before the transfer window shuts on Thursday night and have “started to test the ground” by making contact over a deal.
France Football report manager Unai Emery has prioritised a move for Malcuit and has given the club the green light to make a late-window swoop.
Emery insisted at his media conference earlier on Monday that he has no plans to sign a centre-back this month, despite the injuries that have decimated the team in the key position in recent times.
The manager was not similarly dismissive of the possibility of recruiting a new full-back.
With Bellerin out for the rest of the season, Arsenal are in need of a right-back worthy of the name. Stephan Lichtsteiner’s best days are long behind him, while Emery is said to be unconvinced by Ashley Maitland-Niles on the right side of defence.
Malcuit has plenty of top-level experience in France, which secured him a £9.6million move to Napoli last summer. He has subsequently been in and out of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, although he has started the last three matches at right-back.
That could make it difficult for Arsenal to seal a deal this late in the window, especially if they are only willing to strike a loan transfer.