Sky Sports Germany football journalist Marc Behrenbeck has given a crucial update on Arsenal’s bid to sign Valencia centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.
The North London club are facing a defensive crisis at the back after Mertesacker and Gabriel are expected to spend plenty of time on the treatment table. The Gunners have been in the hunt for the defender for much of the summer and it appeared earlier last week that the deal might have stalled.
However, Mr Behrenbeck announced on his official Twitter account that the 24-year-old is heavily interested in joining the North London club but is still waiting on the two clubs to agree a deal before the player can sign his contract. The journalist was able to confirm that talks between both the clubs were taking place on Tuesday.
— Marc Behrenbeck (@Sky_Marc) August 23, 2016
His other options are namely West Brom’s Jonny Evans, Fenerbache’s Simon Kjaer and Omer Toprak of Bayer Leverkusen with Atletico Madrid’s ‘costly’ defender Jose Gimenez also being monitored.
A positive point for Arsenal is that Valencia may be forced into selling their star center back, in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations. Despite the financial pressure, the Spanish side has still bought Portuguese winger Nani and Spanish midfielder Mario Suarez, but the club’s sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch has admitted that his club will have to balance their books in order to get them officially registered.
Hence Arsenal might get him for a decent bid (of around £10-12m) less than the original ‘£50m’ price tag set for him by his current employers. It is still unknown as to how much Wenger will be interested in bidding for his current primary target after an initial bid of £25m was rejected earlier this month.
Mustafi has also emerged on the transfer radar of Chelsea recently, and so Arsenal must sneak in and make things interesting. We do not know how long Mertesacker is out for, but even with him back in shape, Arsenal are certainly in need of a new defender.
Mertesacker’s and Gabriel’s injury should merely push the issue. Rob Holding is a fantastic future option but Mustafi is clearly a more experienced and proven player, a present day contender for that second central defensive role.
Let us hope that we get the reported £28m Mustafi deal done sooner than later so that our bid to attain Premier League glory this season ends in a fruitful manner.