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Arsenal set to "swoop" for United defender — reports

Is Chris Smalling set to follow in Mikaël Silvestre's illustrious footsteps?

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Look up there, into the trees. Can you see him? Just there, on the branch? See his beady, glinting eyes? His vicious, curled talons? That, dear friends, is the Wenger owl, wisest and most stubborn of all the birds of prey, famous for its ability to turn its head in every direction apart from straight forward.

Watch as the Wenger owl glides silently into the night. See as he banks smoothly over the fields of Carrington, his eyes fixed on the tiny red shirts below. They know nothing of the silent death that awaits them. Hear nothing as the Wenger owl tucks his wings and slices down through the darkness. See nothing ... until, with a flurry of feathers and one short, sharp scream, cut off at source, the Wenger owl rises again, his prey limp in his claws. Blood is black in moonlight.

According to the Times (£), Arsène Wenger wants to buy Chris Smalling for £12m at the end of the season.