Man United winger top of Arsenal’s January shopping list

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Arsene Wenger is plotting a raid on Old Trafford as he seeks a replacement for outbound winger Theo Walcott.

Nani is the man who he’s sounded out to fill the England star’s shoes and he could be available for a January switch following a fall out with Sir Alex Ferguson.

If whispers of a bust up are true, the Portuguese international is sure to be on his way out the Manchester United exit door while, alike Walcott, Nani’s stalling over penning a contract extension has been well-documented.

Five years ago, it would be very difficult to imagine Arsenal and United even contemplating doing business but, since the Gunners now lack the title credentials they once boasted, it’s unlikely that Sir Alex would have a problem shipping an unwanted member of his playing staff off to the Emirates if the price was right.

The player’s contract expires in 2014 but, after his manager attributed United’s Capital One Cup defeat at Chelsea solely to a Nani error in stoppage time and no appearance since early November, his future in Manchester doesn’t look as rosy as it did following his £20.5m move from Sporting Lisbon in 2007.

Any move for Nani would signal the end of Arsenal’s interest in Crystal Palace sensation Wilfried Zaha whose club, according to weekend reports, are keen on United’s offer to loan him back to the Eagles to assist their promotion push after completing a permanent switch.

The Gunners’ efforts to qualify for the Champions League are in desperate need of momentum and, blowing the January transfer kitty on a player who is a way off the finished article won’t help them in the short term.

With a 131 Premier League appearances under his belt, Nani’s quality is proven at the highest level and, not always guaranteed a start at United, he would flourish as one of the main men in Arsenal’s team.

Despite their spluttering campaign to date, Arsenal remain odds-on to qualify for next season’s Champions League and can be backed at 5/6 to achieve the feat.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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