With Per Mertesacker unlikely to play again this year, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he will look to sign another defender despite already acquiring the services of 20-year-old Rob Holding from Bolton Wanderers.
The Frenchman’s quotes triggered reports in Spain that Valencia were willing to sell Mustafi if Arsenal met their £20.9m valuation of the 24-year-old centre-back, and now Sky Deutschland have reported that talks are underway between the two clubs.
It’s added that Arsenal are yet to make an official offer for Mustafi, although he has only just returned from holiday following his Euro 2016 commitments with Germany and Arsenal could choose to take a relaxed approach to negotiations given that Holding enjoyed a solid debut in the 2-1 win over the MLS All-Stars and Wenger also has Calum Chambers and Gabriel Paulista available – the latter will rejoin the squad once they return to the United Kingdom.
Sky Deutschland report that Mustafi will cost more than the fee touted in Spain though. The former Hamburg and Everton defender – who joined Valencia from Sampdoria two years ago – has a £42.1m release clause in his contract. Valencia are believed to be willing to let him leave for much less than that figure though, with a £25.3m initial fee plus £8.4m in add-ons believed to be the opening benchmark.
Eight centre-backs Arsenal could sign
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.
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.
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 trained with Valencia for the first time this season on Thursday after being given an extended break due to Germany’s progression to the semi-finals of Euro 2016. With Mertesacker returning to Germany during the week to undergo surgery, Mustafi would represent an ample replacement alongside Laurent Koscielny, who himself is yet to join the Arsenal squad as he enjoys a post-season break.
Arsenal’s pursuit of a new striker continues to rumble on with the club expected to make a second offer for Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette. According to Squawka, Arsenal are prepared to make a return bid for the France international, but will not go any higher than £33.7m.
Lyon have already rejected a £32m offer from West Ham earlier in the summer, and went public on Tuesday to reveal they had rejected Arsenal’s £29.5m bid that left the Gunners exposed to embarrassment and ridicule at attempting to try and snatch an unrealistic transfer.
Having already seen moves for Jamie Vardy and Gonzalo Higuain rejected – the former by the player himself while Napoli refused to budge from their £75m valuation of the latter – Arsenal could yet turn their attentions away from Lacazette and target another striker in Juventus’s Mario Mandzukic.
The arrival of Higuain in Turin has put Mandzukic’s position in doubt, according to Italian news outlet Gazzetta World, and The Sun claims that Arsenal have been alerted to his availability. While Juventus would rather sell fellow striker Simeone Zaza, it’s claimed that they are willing to let Mandzukic leave for the right price.
One problem for the north London side is that Juventus have proven their worth in the transfer market, as they prepare to receive a world record transfer fee for the sale of Paul Pogba to Manchester United.