Arsenal are plotting an approach for Roma's 20-year-old defender Alessio Romagnoli, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Having been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium in the past, by the likes of the Independent, the Arsenal hierarchy are now believed to have contacted Roma, who value the young defender at €35 million (£24.4m)
Reports suggest that the Italy Under-21 international is seen as the perfect replacement for Per Mertesacker who, at 30 years of age, is nearing the end of his peak playing days.
Corriere dello Sport claim, in Wednesday’s print version of their publication, that Roma would prefer to sell him to the English oufit than to a direct rival in the form of AC Milan, who are also interested in securing his services.
What do the stats say?
Romagnoli spent last season on loan in Serie A with Sampdoria, where he made 30 league appearances.
He averaged 10 defensive actions per match, including 2.10 interceptions, 6.83 clearances and 0.72 blocks per match - superior to Mertesacker in each key area.
Meanwhile, he saw success in 61% of his total aerial duels, compared to the German's 70%.
The 20-year-old also weighed in with two goals, as well as five key passes - two of which resulted in assists.