By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Arsenal are weighing up a £30million double swoop for Southampton duo Dejan Lovren and Morgan Schneiderlin, Goal can reveal.
Arsene Wenger is targeting the Saints pair as he steps up plans to recruit a centre-back and midfield anchorman.
Arsenal are ready to rival Liverpool in the race for Croatia international Lovren and want to explore the possibility of a double deal that involves his team-mate Schneiderlin.
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The two Southampton stars have both indicated they want to leave St Mary's Stadium and continue the exodus of marquee talent from the club this summer. Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert have joined Liverpool, Luke Shaw has moved to Manchester United and Mauricio Pochettino has taken the reins at Tottenham.
Wenger is expected to hold off from sanctioning a formal move until he gets an answer from Alexis Sanchez on whether the Gunners' priority signing wants to join from Barcelona. The Arsenal manager has met with Sanchez's agent in Brazil this week to push through a deal for the Chile World Cup star.
Wenger will then turn his attention to reinforcing other areas of his squad ahead of the new domestic season.
Thomas Vermaelen wants a move to Manchester United but, as revealed by Goal, Wenger will not allow the Belgian to leave until he has lined up a replacement.
Lovren fits the bill as a proven Premier League player who would be comfortable with Arsenal's playing style. The 24-year-old, who is on holiday following Croatia's elimination from the World Cup, has asked Southampton for a transfer as he seeks a switch to a club who can offer Champions League football.
Goal understands that Wenger is also preparing to promote 17-year-old Spaniard Julio Pleguezelo to the first-team squad next season.
The plan is for the teenage defender, who only signed his first professional contract in April, to effectively fill the fourth centre-back position at the club.
Schneiderlin, who is rated in the £15m bracket by Arsenal, is being targeted for the midfield anchorman spot at Emirates Stadium. He has been closely trailed by the Gunners over the last two seasons since Southampton were promoted back to the Premier League.