First up the gunners have reportedly agreed on personal terms with 24-year old centre-back Shkodran Mustafi over a £28m plus add-ons deal, according to the Valencia defender’s agent Al Bulut.
Speaking to German newspaper Spox, Bulut said:
“It now just remains for the teams to come to an agreement over the fee.”
The Germany international has been strongly linked with the Gunners for much of the last week, with Arsene Wenger making him his top target to strengthen his injury-hit defense.
According to other reports, the defender is reportedly awaiting permission from the Spanish club to have a medical with the Emirates club after agreeing on a five-year deal. The transfer fee will be around the £28m mark including bonuses and is expected to conclude by next week.
Arsenal has been on the lookout for a new centre-back following injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel. Mertesacker is facing five months out after suffering a knee injury in pre-season. While Gabriel is expected to be out for six to eight weeks with an ankle problem. And Laurent Koscielny has only just returned to training after being granted time off following France’s exploits at Euro 2016.
Hence Arsenal FC is short of a well recognized CB heading into the new Premier League season. And now Spanish outlet Plaza Deportiva have claimed that Valencia’s Singaporean billionaire owner Peter Lim is flying into London on his private jet to finalize the deal. The report claims Lim will meet directly with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger to close the transfer.
However, in other news, Arsenal have made an inquiry over the availability of Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu, according to reports in France as a backup if the Mustafi move fails to materialize. Mathieu has made 75 appearances for Barca since sealing a transfer from Mustafi’s current employers Valencia back in 2014 but the 32-year-old is now being linked with a move to the Emirates.
Major French television channel SFR Sport suggested recently that the Gunners have approached the Catalan giants over a deal for the experienced French centre-back as Arsene Wenger scours the transfer market for defensive reinforcements this summer. According to ESPN, he will cost around £10m.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger went into their first game of the Premier League season on Sunday at home to Liverpool with just Calum Chambers and new youngster Rob Holding as his only fit centre-backs and eventually the gunners succumbed to a 4-3 defeat. Thus Wenger, in particular, needs a left sided central defender who will not be too expensive, and the 66-year old French manager is reportedly keen on Mathieu’s big club experience.
Apart from the central defenders according to surprising reports from France Arsenal have made a £35m bid for defending Premier League Champions Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. The bid is also likely to include approximately £8m as add-ons. The Gunners are known suitors of the 25-year old Algerian international winger, with claims that they have already had a £30m bid rejected.
However, the Foxes’ 64-year old Italian manager Claudio Ranieri had earlier insisted that Mahrez is going nowhere this summer after the playmaker helped Leicester win an unlikely Premier League title last season. But French newspaper L’Equipe is claiming that a fresh offer has been put on the table by Arsenal for the services of Mahrez. According to French journalist Ilyes Ramdani, the Leicester winger has informed Leicester City officials about his wishes to join the North London club this season but has promised not to force the issue.
Arsenal FC, who finished runner-up last season are in desperate need of a striker this season apart from a centre-back. But instead of a striker if Wenger brings in Riyad Mahrez it would make all the sense as he would suit our possession-based passing style of play perfectly and we could deploy players like Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott upfront in certain games where Olivier Giroud can come in as a super sub. This would definitely help the team to fare well against the big guns both in the league as well as Europe.
Hence having failed to open our PL account after losing the opening game to Liverpool, Arsenal is definitely in a period of crisis. One thing is very clear to all Gooners around the world if we don’t sign a centre-back and a striker at least this transfer window we can kiss goodbye to the Premier League title already. Let us keep hoping for the best. Come on you gunners.