Arsenal close in on £7m defender (plus video)
Published 22:31 27/03/12 By John Cross
Arsene Wenger will try to forget last summer's transfer nightmares by making an early move for Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen.
The Arsenal boss has already sealed a £10.9million deal for Cologne and Germany striker Lukas Podolski, with the switch likely to be officially announced before the end of the week.
But Wenger will not stop there.
The Gunners are hopeful of tying up a cut-price £7m deal for versatile Belgian international Vertonghen, with the fee reduced because the 24-year-old is set to be out of contract at the end of next season.
The first moves have been made, and Arsenal believe they can get their man.
It's an interesting sign of Wenger's new approach to the transfer market after last summer's disasters, which saw Arsenal forced into a string of last -minute signings.
They eventually picked up Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun and Andre Santos in the final few days of the market, but only acted after a poor start to the summer window, which was affected by the long, drawn-out departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
This time, Wenger wants to get in early an has already put in hard work to agree Podolski and make moves on Vertonghen - who has lined up alongside Gunners star Thomas Vermaelen for Belgium and Ajax.
Arsenal, who are also keen on Blackburn forward Junior Hoilett and Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, saw long-term target Mario Gotze sign a new deal at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Andrey Arshavin's loan move to Zenit St Petersburg is likely to be turned into a permanent deal, while Carlos Vela, Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner will be sold and Manuel Almunia and Sebastian Squillaci will be available on free transfers.
See Jan the Man show off his impressive tackle here: