ARSENAL are ready to test Southampton’s determination to hold on to Morgan Schneiderlin with a £15million move for the France international.
But Arsene Wenger knows Saints will almost certainly turn down any offers for the tough-tackling midfielder during the January transfer window.
That would leave him facing the dilemma of waiting until the summer to get his first-choice target or finding another option in the New Year.
Wenger is looking to add a midfield anchorman to his squad after losing skipper Mikel Arteta to his third calf injury of the season.
Schneiderlin, 25, has been on Wenger’s radar for the past two years but the Arsenal manager has yet to make a firm bid for the player.
Now the Gunners want to make sure they do not lose Schneiderlin to Spurs, who had a £12m bid rejected by Southampton in the summer.
Schneiderlin, who will miss tonight’s trip to the Emirates with a leg injury, was furious when that potential reunion with Mauricio Pochettino was blocked.
He even considered going on strike before reluctantly accepting Saints’ decision.
Now he is resigned to seeing out the season at St Mary’s before reviewing his options in the summer.
His contract does not expire until 2017 but he is determined to play regular Champions League football after forcing his way into the French World Cup squad earlier this year.
And he would certainly be up for a move to Arsenal sooner rather than later in spite of Southampton currently lying third in the Premier League.