By Editor Wayne Veysey
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Arsenal are ready to enter preliminary negotiations to sign Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell, Football Insider sources understand.
The London giants had a £7million bid for the 19-year-old rejected in the January transfer window and are keen to make another move for the teenager.
An Arsenal recruitment source has told Football Insider that Arsene Wenger has sanctioned the pursuit of Chilwell in a bid to beat Liverpool to his signature.
The Merseysiders are currently in pole position to land the England Under-20 international after putting in a lot of groundwork for a deal.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is in the market for someone to compete with first-choice Alberto Moreno on the left side of the defence and has identified Chilwell as a priority signing.
The Gunners bid £5million plus £2million of add-ons for Chilwell in the January window and Liverpool will have to be prepared to beat that to land the 19-year-old.
Arsenal are also keen on a new left-back amid growing doubts over the future of Academy graduate Kieran Gibbs, who has entered the final two years of his contract and has not been offered a new deal.
Leicester have opened discussions with Chilwell’s representatives about extending his contract, which runs until the summer of 2017.
The Premier League champions are ready to up the academy graduate’s deal to a reported £18,000-a-week in a bid to keep him.
However, Chilwell has decided to sit tight and wait, and with just 12 months remaining on his deal, the likelihood of a sale is increasing.
The highly rated Foxes Academy graduate spent the first half of the season on loan at Huddersfield and then started both legs of Leicester’s FA Cup third-round clash against Tottenham but he has not played since 20 January.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the club are closing in on a signing who will be paid £31million over five years.