Arsenal’s hunt for an experienced centre-back has finally taken a positive turn as it is being reported that Valencia have begun seeking a replacement for Gunners target Shkodran Mustafi.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been having a torrid time of late as he attempts to prepare his squad for the looming Premier League season.
Injuries to both Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista have seen Wenger’s options at centre-back reduced to young and inexperienced emerging squad players. This is not the position Gunners fans will have wished for, one week from the start of the new Premier League season.
Added to this is the unavailability of Laurent Koscielny for the season-opener with Liverpool. The France international is still not match ready following his exploits at Euro 2016. While he should return later this month, his absence from this weekend’s match leaves Wenger with some serious selection headaches at the back.
Luckily the Arsenal boss has been actively pursuing replacements and has been focusing on Valencia’s Germany international Mustafi. News of Wenger’s interest surfaced several weeks back and it appears the London club have now stepped up their attempts to bring the young defender to the Emirates.
With reports that Valencia have left the 23-year-old out of their squad for their next upcoming friendly, signs are looking good that he may be about to leave the club.
Shkodran’s departure looks even more certain now after it was reported, via the Evening Standard, that the La Liga side are actively pursuing a replacement centre-back of their own and have set their sights on Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala.
Gunners fans will see these developments as a sign that Wenger is finally about to dig into his transfer war chest and bring in the much-needed experience and quality that the Arsenal defence currently finds itself lacking.
The only question that seems to remain is, will Wenger manage to complete a deal before the season opener on Saturday?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena