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Who Arsenal want to replace Laurent Koscielny as Gunners chiefs hatch fresh transfer plan

ARSENAL have turned their attention to Benfica star Ruben Dias as they look for a replacement for Laurent Koscielny, according to reports.

Centre-back and club captain Koscielny went on strike and refused to travel with the rest of the squad to the United Staes for the Gunners’ pre-season tour.

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The Frenchman, 33, is unhappy at not being allowed to move back to France with Bordeaux prepared to offer him a three-year deal.

Arsenal are now resigned to losing a player who has been at the club for nine years.

And the Mail claim they will now try to sign Dias having previously been interested at the start of the summer transfer window.

The reports says Arsenal have compiled detailed reports on the 22-year-old Portugal international.

Manchester United have also been linked with Dias and could yet make a move if they fail to prise Harry Maguire away from Leicester.

Dias has a release clause in his contract worth £54million and that would take up all of cash-strapped Arsenal’s summer budget.

However, the Mail claim Arsenal will try and get around that by offering a small fee up front with more add-ons to be paid at a later date.

Manager Unai Emery can also increase his budget with player sales, although there appears to be little interest in players who he is willing to let go and would command a significant fee.

Despite that, Emery was desperate to bring in a new centre-back even before the Koscielny debacle and the type of player he needs will not come cheap.

They were understood to be closing in on a deal for 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba who would be loaned back to the Ligue 1 side.

However, that has run into problems after Tottenham entered the race to sign him.

He would cost around £30m ad Spurs are said to be keen on putting him straight into the first team given the uncertainty surrounding Toby Alderweireld’s future.

Jan Vertonghen is also out of contract next summer so moving to Spurs might guarantee him more first-team action.

Spurs are determined to make inroads in this summer’s window having failed to sign any players in January or last summer.

They have already broken their transfer record to bring in midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon.

Forward Jack Clarke will move to north London next summer after they agreed a deal with Leeds that involves him going back on loan for the 2019-20 campaign.

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