Boss Arsene Wenger has reportedly identified Mariappa as his preferred target to strengthen the Gunners’ backline options having been alarmed by some of the recent performances of his established defenders, most notably Johan Djourou.
Mariappa, who can play either at centre-back or right-back, has already attracted the attention of Newcastle with a string of impressive performances in the Championship, and the Toon are already thought to have tabled a bid of around £1.5million.
Watford, however, are reportedly holding out for at least £2m for their prized asset, and Wenger could be prepared to meet their asking price after apparently being impressed by the 25-year-old in the Hornets’ 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in the FA Cup on Friday evening.
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