Wenger lineup Italian star as shock January replacement for this Arsenal man

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Arsenal have been reported with an interest in signing Sporting Lisbon defender Cristiano Piccini.

The right-back has been very impressive during the opening stages of the season, helping Sporting maintain an unbeaten start to the Primeira Liga after eight rounds of matches thus far this season.

The Gunners who are understood to be monitoring the 25-year-old however have London rivals West Ham United for company in the race to sign the player.

With Carl Jenkinson on loan at Birmingham City and Mathieu Debuchy set to leave Arsenal, Hector Bellerin is currently the only natural right sided defender available for selection in the senior squad and that goes a long way in explaining Wenger’s interest in the fullback.

Despite Piccini only agreeing a new five-year deal with Sporting as recently as July, Portuguese outlet A Bola via Daily Cannon have revealed that Arsenal and West Ham are both interested in signing the defender.

The Italian is yet to receive a call-up for his country’s senior squad but he did represent them at the under21 level back in August 2013. However, with his current form it seems a matter of when and not if Gian Piero Ventura will change his mind about calling him up for the Azurri.

Piccini would be a very good addition to the squad as he would seamlessly slot into the Gunners passing game while his attacking ability would make him an ideal fit for the wing back role.

With the Gunners currently one Bellerin injury away from a potential crisis, Wenger should be looking to beat the Hammers to ensure Piccini arrives in the North part of London.

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