Arsenal are stepping up their pursuit of Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen.

The Daily Mail says after their deal for FC Cologne ace Lukas Podolski, Arsenal are preparing for their next transfer splurge by taking steps to land central defender Vertonghen after opening talks with Ajax.

Vertonghen is entering the final year of his contract and Arsenal feel they can land the 25-year-old for as little as £7m, despite interest from Newcastle, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Manager Arsene Wenger hopes Vertonghen will form part of a new-look defensive pool next season, with Sebastien Squillaci and Johan Djourou available for transfers away from the Emirates this summer.