Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'hopes' to sign Shkodran Mustafi before deadline day after confirming talks
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal are still in negotiations to sign Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi and hopes to complete the move before next week’s transfer deadline in an effort to strengthen his defensive options.
Wenger has come in for fierce criticism this summer for failing to make progress in the transfer window, with the additions of Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding deemed inadequate by the majority of the club’s fans to inspire the side to a genuine title challenge this season.
Despite the season-opening 4-3 defeat by Liverpool, Wenger has not completed any further signings, while the club have also confirmed that their third summer signing – Japanese striker Takuma Asano – will not play for the club this season after failing to gain a work permit.
With Arsenal short in defence after seeing Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista ruled out with long-term injuries, fans called on Wenger to spend in the transfer window via fierce protests – both at the Emirates a week ago and at the King Power Stadium after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City.
Wenger has now confirmed though that he is trying to sign 24-year-old Mustafi and insisted that negotiations remain ongoing despite fears that the move had collapsed.
“Mustafi? We hope it will be done,” Wenger told French TV station SFR Sport. “He is one of a number of players we are looking at. Negotiations are ongoing.”
Eight centre-backs Arsenal could sign
A target for Chelsea and Everton, the Napoli centre-back is among this summer’s most sought-after. After selling Gonzalo Higuain for a monumental sum, the Serie A side don’t need the money. Koulibaly, nevertheless, may want the move.
A former Everton player, Mustafi’s name has cropped up more than any other since Mertesacker sustained his injury. Valencia are reportedly willing to let him leave for just €25m, though considering that he has three years remaining on his contract at the Mestalla, we’ll believe that when we see it.
Luciano Spalletti, Manolas’ coach at Roma, has reiterated time and time again that the Greece international is not for sale, amid interest Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. Arsenal would not only have to convince the Serie A side to sell, but also beat competition from their biggest Premier League rivals.
The Internazionale defender has been linked with a move to the Emirates by sections of the Italian press. Murillo has been at the Giuseppe Meazza just over a year, during which time he won the Best Young Player award at last year’s Copa America. Leicester have also considered a move for the 24-year-old.
Described as potentially ‘the future of defending itself’ on these pages, Tah combines his rather intimidating stature with technical ability. Bayer Leverkusen signed him for £7m last summer and are resigned to making a healthy profit sometime in the near future.
A veteran of the Arsenal gossip column inches, Reid claims that he has turned down advances from several top clubs in the past. The New Zealand international signed a six-and-a-half-year deal at Upton Park in 2015 and has only seen things improve at the club since. Could he be tempted this time around?
An international team-mate of Granit Xhaka, Schar impressed in his outings at this summer’s European Championships with Switzerland. He was linked with the Emirates last year too, only to end up joining Hoffenheim.
With Ivan Gazidis throwing buckets of cold water over fans’ expectations for this summer’s transfer window, what would be more ‘Arsenal’ than the underwhelming return of an ailing former player. Sol Campbell appears to have moved into politics, so how about Vermaelen? It would at least be another body in the squad, as long as he stays out of the treatment room.
Mustafi is believed to have already agreed personal terms with Arsenal through his agent, Ali Bulut, although Valencia have elected to recall him to their squad for their opening La Liga fixture of the season as they take on Las Palmas on Monday night.
While the news may appease some fans frustrated with the lack of progress in the transfer window, there are still many who feel Arsenal will be well short of a title challenge unless they address their lack of options in attack. Olivier Giroud returned to the squad for Saturday’s encounter, but a fourth consecutive away draw that stretches back to last season has left Arsenal five points behind Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea after just two matches and already playing catch-up.
Arsenal failed in their efforts to sign Jamie Vardy from Leicester while Gonzalo Higuain elected to join Juventus when Arsenal chose not to meet Napoli’s £78m asking price, leaving Wenger struggling to fill his requirement for a new striker. Interest does still remain in Alexandre Lacazette, but he appears increasingly likely to remain with Lyon after scoring five goals in their first two Ligue 1 games.