Nicolas Otamendi
Otamendi has been linked to ArsenalReuters

Arsenal are set to battle Manchester United for the signature of Valencia's Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi, according to the Daily Mirror.

The 26-year-old has been a revelation for the La Liga club and Arsene Wenger deems him as the perfect answer to his defensive problems.

Valencia are unlikely to let him go without a fight and the Gunners have to shell out a considerable amount of money if they have to pluck the defender amid competition from other clubs.

He is among many defenders the Gunners are currently pursuing, including West Ham's Winston Reid, who is reportedly keen on making a move to the Emirates, with his contract expiring in the summer.

Otamendi has made 18 starts this season for the La Liga outfit, scoring two goals in the process. The Gunners need someone who can lead the team from the back, especially with Per Mertesacker entering his thirties.

Manchester United have also stepped up their interest in the defender having been notified by Mats Hummels that he is happy plying his trade with Borussia Dortmund.

Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista is also on Arsenal's list, but work permit issues may scupper the move, leaving Wenger to look for more plausible options. The Brazilian is open to signing for Arsenal but insists that he would not be disheartened if the move falls through.

"The subject is being discussed by my agent and the club. If I go to Arsenal it will be excellent. But if it's not finalised then I am relaxed. I am focused on my work here," he said.

Meanwhile, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has applauded Arsenal for their brilliant display against Manchester City and stressed that the Gunners were deserved winners on the day.

Wenger's decision to curb his team's attacking flair was appreciated by the media and pundits alike, who have branded the Frenchman's new found tactical acumen as the dawn of a new era at the Emirates.

"I was shocked Arsene Wenger went with those tactics. They were more disciplined and a compact unit," Carragher said.

"They stopped David Silva and City's other creative players. There was nowhere to go and no space to get into the pockets.

"Arsenal got men behind the ball. Aaron Ramsey was going out to engage and Cazorla stopped the ball going into attacking players. They sat deeper with [Francis] Coquelin behind the midfield," he added.