By support

2nd Jan, 2017 | 12:37pm

London rivals move ahead of Arsenal in pursuit of £21m-valued January target - report

By Harvey Byrne

Chelsea have made contact with Arsenal full-back target Ricardo Rodriguez’ agent, according to a report.

The Sun has claimed that Blues boss Antonio Conte is hopeful of securing a £21million deal for the the 24-year-old in January.

It is stated that both Premier League sides have been impressed by the experienced Switzerland international this campaign with the two London sides keen on adding a left-back in January.

However, it is also reported that the Gunners need to offload Kieran Gibbs before making any moves to bring a full-back in.

The England international’s future in north London is looking to be nearing it’s end with no talks on a new contract extension which is set to run out in 2018.

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Meanwhile, with age catching up on 30-year-old Nacho Monreal Arsene Wenger could now be looking for a younger alternative.

But, the experienced manager could be set to lose out on Rodriguez as the report states that Chelsea can go straight in with a cash offer and have now emerged as favourites to sign the Wolfsburg star.

The Switzerland international has been in the Bundesliga since the age of 19 after completing a £7.5million deal to Wolfsburg from Zurich in 2012.

He has played in 174 encounters in total during his time in Germany with a return of 22 goals and 27 assists.

Football Insider verdict:

Arsenal should do all that they can to ensure they beat Chelsea to a player of Rodriguez’ ability. The defender would be a quality addition to most teams in the Premier League and would compliment a very strong Gunners defence with Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin. The young Switzerland international could be the difference between Arsenal fighting for fourth place and finishing comfortably inside the top four. Additionally, he would provide a safe pair of boots for years to come and would prove a very worthy addition. Arsenal have enough money to suggest that they don’t need to sell Gibbs before making a signing and the Gunners must now secure their target.

In other Arsenal transfer news, Liverpool are planning a £20million bid for this Gunners attacker.