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ARSENE WENGER is ready to turn to Celtic hotshot Mousa Dembele if Alexis Sanchez quits Arsenal this summer.
And the Gunners boss is also weighing up a £45m bid for Southhampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk as he bids to rebuild his team into title contenders.
Despite insisting Chile star Sanchez could be forced to honour the last year of his contract, Wenger is well aware keeping an unhappy star and losing an asset worth at least £50m would be economic madness.
Wenger and the Arsenal board are still taking a hard line about not letting yet another key player go to title rivals Manchester City, having previously seen Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna go to the Etihad.
But with Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich keen on the 28-year-old, who scored 30 goals for Arsenal last season, a move abroad might yet be sanctioned.
And Dembele is the striker Wenger has identified as the one he wants to come in if Sanchez leaves.
The 20-year-old Frenchman scored 32 goals in 48 appearances for the Parkhead club in his first season in Scotland following a move from Fulham.
Dembele has been valued at around £30m but in the wake of spiralling transfer fees this summer, Celtic are likely to want more for a player who has three years remaining on his contract.
Arsenal have already spent £52m on striker Alexandre Lacazette, but Wenger wants further reinforcement with another Frenchman, Olivier Giroud, lined up to leave for either Everton or Borussia Dortmund.
Wenger is also looking to boost his defence and is considering making a £45m bid for Southampton’s Holland international van Dijk.
Liverpool were favourites to sign the 26-year-old but had to back off after Saints made an official complaint about the way they approach the transfer.
The £45m figure is a huge increase on the £12m the Gunners could have paid for van Dijk two years ago, when they stepped back and allowed him to go to Southampton