Matija Nastasic
Matija Nastasic is wanted by Italian giants Napoli and Juventus (Getty)

Arsenal look set to miss out on Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic as Juventus and Napoli lead the chase to sign the Montenegrin.

Nastasic has been told he can leave the Etihad club after manager Manuel Pellegrini splashed £32m on Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala.

Arsenal had reportedly been interested in signing the 21-year-old but Italian giants Juventus and Napoli have now emerged as front-runners to capture the former Fiorentina player.

The Gunners were monitoring left-footed Nastasic while left-sided captain Thomas Vermaelen was negotiating a move away from London and the Premier League to Barcelona.

According to reports in Italy, City want €3m (£2.3m) compensation if Nastasic moves on loan and are demanding €12m (£9.5) for a permanent move.

The Italian clubs have barged their way to the front of the queue after Arsenal signed Callum Chambers from Southampton for £16m.

"Matija needs to play," Pellegrini told Sky Sports. "We already have important players here with four full-backs, Demichelis, Kompany, Mangala and Boyata.

"So we will see in the next few days what happens with Nastasic. He is an important player, but he has offers and I think the best thing for him is to play.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini appears set on continuing the clearout at City after indicating former club captain and England right-back Micah Richards can also seek opportunities elsewhere.

The 26-year-old City youth product dropped down the pecking order after Argentine full-back Pablo Zabaleta displaced him as first-choice defender.

He made only two league appearances as City won the Premier League title last season and with the addition of Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna, Pellegrini believes his back-line is strong enough without Richards.