Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their interest in Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand, who is set to become a free agent this summer after seven years with the south coast club.
According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are eager to add the 31-year-old left-back to their ranks next season, with Manchester City also keen to sign Bertrand this summer on a free, who is reportedly earning £70,000-a-week with the Saints according to Spotrac.
Arsenal have just one senior left-sided fullback in their squad in the form of Kieran Tierney, with Sead Kolasinac likely to leave the club in the summer and Mikel Arteta wanting backup for the Scottish international. The Gunners have also been linked with Hibernian teenager Josh Doig as reported by football.london.
The north London club are due for a massive squad rebuild this summer, with the Guardian reporting that as many as five first-team players could leave this off-season, with the Athletic already reporting that David Luiz is to leave Arsenal at the end of this campaign after two years.
With 285 Premier League appearances under his belt as well as a UEFA Champions League winners medal, Bertrand is hot property this summer with multiple clubs said to be interested in the veteran left-back.
On the surface, Bertrand makes a lot of sense for Arsenal. The former England international has plenty of Premier League experience under his belt and could act as a suitable backup to Tierney given the number of injuries the 23-year-old left-back has endured during his time with the Gunners.
Yet despite a good track record in the Premier League, signing Bertrand seems to clash with Arsenal’s transfer policy this summer, as reported by the Athletic, of wanting to sign younger players as well as not continue to build on the already sky-high wage bill.
With a reported weekly wage of £70,000, this will only increase should Bertrand join Arsenal, and at 31, there will be next-to-no resale value for the defender who is now entering the final years of his illustrious career.