Sime Vrsaljko
Sime Vrsaljko [right] in acton for Croatia against Belgium. [Reuters]

Arsenal are keen to sign Genoa defender Sime Vrsaljko during the January transfer window but it seems they will have a major fight on their hands as the Italian club are desperate to retain his services.

The Express reports that Arsenal sent scouts to watch the right-back in action for Croatia in the defeat to Belgium last Friday night and have been tracking his progress for some time.

Vrsaljko only made the move to the Seria A side in the summer from Dinao Zagreb but it seems Arsenal are already interested in tempting him to move to the Premier League.

"They [Arsenal] want him, but this January? We need all our players available. It is important everyone stays together," Genoa boss Gian Piero Gasperini told Sky Sports Italia.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has often been linked with right-backs in recent season and speculation is sure to continue with Bacary Sagna coming towards the end of his current deal.

The French defender will be available to leave on a free next summer and has been repeatedly linked with a move back to Ligue 1.

Arsenal can call upon Carl Jenkinson, who has deputised for Sagna on a number of occasions in the last few seasons, but it seems Wenger may well feel he needs more cover in the right-back position.

While it is unlikely that Vrsaljko would be allowed to leave in January, the north London club may well attempt to sign him next summer but the decision it seems will ultimately rest with Genoa.

The defender's agent Nikky Vuksan told Tutto Mercato recently that he felt his client was happy to remain at the Italian club for at least this season.

"Playing for Genoa is an honour for him and he's very happy here. Will he leave in January or June? It's hard to say now because it's up to the club," said Vuksam.

Vrsaljko may just be 21 years of age but he already has plenty of experience having won four league titles with Dinamo Zagreb, regularly featured in the Champions League and been capped by Croatia on four occasions.