Arsenal close in on defensive star

Arsenal are in discussions with Anderlecht over a summer deal for centre-back Cheikhou Kouyate, according to reports from The Metro.

The 24-year-old has been a target for the Gunners – as well as Liverpool – for some time, with Arsene Wenger believed to be a big fan of his abilities.

With rumours suggesting Thomas Vermaelen’s future at the Emirates Stadium circulating, the Frenchman is thought to be ready to snap up Kouyate as a replacement.

The Senegal international is wanted by a host of European clubs according to his agent Saffet Balkan, who confirmed that Arsenal are in contact with Anderlecht for his client:

“Arsenal have been tracking Cheikhou and have now made enquiries [to Anderlecht,” he said.

“Galatasaray and CSKA also keep close tabs on him. Valencia made a bid in January, but Anderlecht rejected the offer.”

Kouyate is one of the continent’s most sought-after young defenders, and his physical approach has drawn comparisons with former Arsenal hero Sol Campbell.

Although he is one of Anderlecht’s star men, the Belgian giants are rumoured to be willing to sell for around £8m, with the player himself open to a move to one of the world’s top leagues.