With rumours that Arsene Wenger is keen to sign a defender before Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Liverpool on Sunday, Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi seems their prime target.
According to Matt Law’s report in the Daily Telegraph, Arsenal are set to lodge a £20 million bid in the next few days with personal terms likely to thrashed out quite quickly.
At 24 years of age, Mustafi ticks a lot of boxes for Arsenal. He was on the books at Everton for four years earlier in his career so his familiar with the rhythms and routines of English football.
He also knows with Mesut Özil and Per Mertesacker from his time on international duty with Germany, and with Arsenal looking for a quick fix Mustafi shouldn’t need an extended settling in period.
Mustafi did miss training yesterday with an ‘injury’, fuelling speculation that a move to the Emirates was gathering pace.
Arsenal seem the only interested party, so quite why they’re delaying their decision to launch an official bid is unclear.
The Mirror are, again, linking Arsenal with a surprise move for West Brom defender Jonny Evans, a story that emerged earlier in the transfer window.
It is believed that Mustafi remains Arsenal’s first choice, but there is a serious interest in Evans who enjoyed a good first season at the Hawthorns and was an integral part of Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 journey.
Arsenal would be willing to part with £15 million to secure Evans’ services, but the Baggies are expected to demand a good deal more.
Evans is a solid defender in teams that set up to defend, but whether he would look quite so assured in an Arsenal side that doesn’t always protect its back four is questionable.
Elsewhere, Arsenal’s pursuit of Alexandre Lacazette may be curtailed, with the Daily Star reporting that Lyon are talking the striker around over the prospect of a new contract.
Arsenal had made a £29.3 million bid earlier in the summer for Lacazette, but have not returned with a bid closer to Lyon’s £42.5m valuation.
Lacazette was not Arsenal’s first choice this summer, and their reluctance to go back for him must mean they think they can get somebody better.
Who that ‘somebody’ is remains unclear, but Wenger has been explicit in stating that he wants to bring in a forward.
The prospect of not signing a striker seems unthinkable, so if Wenger has decided to snub Lacazette he must think there is another iron in the fire.
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