Wenger to strengthen defence with move for Porto centre-back

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Arsenal have been in secret talks with the agent of FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala ahead of a potential big-money summer move to north London, according to reports.

Arsene Wenger watched his side concede five goals as they suffered a damaging 5-1 defeat to Liverpool, but the Frenchman has been keen to add to his defensive options even before the Anfield horror show.

The Gunners boss, whose side are now 6/1 to win the Premier League title, labelled his defence naive as they went on to concede four goals inside 20 minutes to dent their league challenge.

And with speculation also continuing regarding the future of centre-back Thomas Vermaelen, Wenger is ready to stump up the £32m required to land the highly-rated Porto defender.

The 22-year-old, who has featured 26 times for Porto this season, has been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG and Juventus in recent months and Manuel Pellegrini failed to tie up a deal to take the French international to the Etihad Stadium on deadline day last month.

Chelsea’s interest is also appearing to waiver after Jose Mourinho sealed a deal for St Etienne’s centre-back prospect Kurt Zouma.

Mangala has made 41 appearances for the Portistas since joining the Estádio do Dragão outfit from Standard Liage for €6.5m.

The defender, who has made one appearance for France, is expected to win a place in Didier Deschamps’ 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

But Arsenal, who are 11/10 to beat Manchester United on Wednesday night and get their title bid back on track, are ready to steal a march on their rivals, including David Moyes’s side to bring Mangala to the Emirates.

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