BBC Sport’s David Ornstein has acquired mock hero status among Arsenal fans on social media, as the proverbial horse’s mouth when it comes to transfer rumours.
Yesterday evening Ornstein took to Twitter to report that Arsenal had triggered Lucas Perez’ £17 million release clause and that his move from Deportivo to Arsenal was now a matter of final details:
Arsenal have made no secret of their desire to add another forward this summer, but since Jamie Vardy turned them down in June the search has proved fruitless.
However, they have decided to pull the trigger on Perez who scored 17 La Liga goals last term, including a steak in which he scored in seven consecutive games.
Arsenal fans will be pleased that a deficient area of the squad has been addressed, but some may feel a little underwhelmed that Perez is not quite the coveted marquee forward.
However true this may be, if Perez hits the ground running and scores goals in an Arsenal shirt, how he was identified and recruited will be immaterial.
The club may have been waiting to see if a higher profile target became available, but have decided to snap up a reasonably priced option.
That means that Arsenal have the funds to spend big on a central defender, and Ornstein also took to Twitter to confirm that they were close to signing Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia:
This deal has been in the offing for some weeks, but Arsenal were unsure of how much money they needed for the much needed centre forward and so waited.
It is no coincidence that the two deals have happened almost simultaneously, and the Gunners are set to pay upwards of £30 million for the German defender.
That size of fee for a central defender is very much uncharted water for Wenger, but Mustafi’s arrival is an attempt to satisfy both short and long term needs.
Firstly, Arsenal are need of an established defender with Per Mertesacker and Gabriel out injured and Rob Holding still in the formative stages of his Arsenal career.
Secondly, Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are over 30 now so Arsenal need to start planning for the long term.
Mustafi, 24, is of an age where he can make the centre back spot his own for years to come and take the baton from Mertesacker who is out of contract in the summer.
Finally, Mustafi’s arrival could mean a loan move for Calum Chambers. Wenger’s selection of Holding against Leicester on Saturday was a clear sign of how he sees the centre back pecking order.
The Daily Mail report that West Brom, Stoke, Sunderland and Hull are among the interested parties and that Arsenal would prefer he got minutes in the Premier League.
Intriguingly though, The Daily Star say this morning that Chambers is open to a loan spell in Italy or Spain which would be a bold move.
Like Holding, Chambers looked extremely promising in his first few Arsenal appearances but now needs some game time to rebuild his confidence.
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