Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is set to block any Arsenal move to signed Red Devils defender Chris Smalling in January, after the Gunners were linked with a surprise swoop for the England centre-back, reports the Daily Star.
Arsene Wenger is willing to part with £10million for Smalling, according to reports, as they look to strengthen their options in central defence in the wake of Thomas Vermaelen’s summer departure.
United, however, have a centre-back crisis of their own, with Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans all sidelined with injury, meaning he cannot afford to lose Smalling to a Premier League rival.
Wenger has been pursuing Smalling since he was a Fulham youngster and enquired about his availability during the summer, though his advances were knocked back.
Van Gaal is not prepared to make a decision on England man’s future until the summer, as he deals with a number of absentees at the back.
Meanwhile, United continue their pursuit of former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, with a deal for the Spaniard looking likely in the near future, meaning he will provide competition for his fellow countryman David de Gea at Old Trafford.