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Incoming coach Pep Guardiola has sanctioned a €23.7 million summer swoop for the defender but the Gunners are confident of fending off the German giants' interest

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | UK Correspondent

Bayern Munich have made an enquiry for Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, Goal can reveal.

Incoming manager Pep Guardiola is a big admirer of the French centre-back and has sanctioned a summer swoop as the German giants press ahead with strengthening their already formidable squad.

But Arsenal have issued a hands-off warning to Bayern and have no intention of negotiating the sale of a player considered integral to Arsene Wenger's future plans.

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The Premier League club value Koscielny at the €23.7 million mark and are confident of fending off interest in the 27-year-old given that his contract has another four years to run.

The most likely of the Arsenal centre-backs to leave this summer is Thomas Vermaelen, who has attracted strong interest from Barcelona. Moreover, Bacary Sagna is expected to move back to France following the collapse of his contract talks, with Sebastien Corchia, 22, of Sochaux lined up to replace him.

Koscielny joined Arsenal from Lorient in 2010 for around €12.5m and has developed into one of the most accomplished defenders in the English top flight.

The France international has suffered some niggling calf injuries this season but has kept club captain Vermaelen out of the team in recent months and formed a solid partnership at the back with Per Mertesacker during Arsenal’s renaissance, in which they have claimed 26 points out of a possible 33 in the league.

Koscielny caught the eye of Guardiola when Arsenal beat Barcelona 2-1 at Emirates Stadium in a first-leg Champions League tie in February 2011. He was also outstanding in the Gunners' 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena in the first knockout stage of this season’s Champions League.

Bayern are targeting a proven centre-back this summer who will be comfortable with Guardiola's fluid playing style.

The Champions League finalists already have four senior centre-backs in Dante, Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Daniel Van Buyten, while Jan Kirchhoff is to join them in the summer from Mainz.

Speaking during the international break in March, Koscielny said he was settled in the capital. "I still have four years left on my contract after June," he explained. "I feel good in the club. They have faith in me. I’m happy in London, my family too, I’m not thinking about [leaving]."

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