Arsenal have identified Shkodran Mustafi as their main defensive target and are looking to finalise a deal for the Valencia centre back before Sunday’s Premier League opener against Liverpool.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is in the market for an experienced stopper following injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, although the latter will only be out of action for six to eight weeks which is much less than first feared.
Wenger has already shown interest in Roma defender Kostas Manolas and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, both of whom are rated at €45m by their respective clubs, but sees Mustafi as a more affordable and risk-free option due to his price tag of £30m (€35m).
An offer is likely to be submitted over the next couple of days as Wenger aims to push a deal over the line before the end of the week, otherwise he will be forced to play an inexperienced centre back pairing of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Premier League rules state that only players signed and registered before 12pm on Friday will be eligible for the weekend matches, making it even more important that negotiations to land the 24-year-old Germany international are conducted swiftly .
Meanwhile, French giants Lyon are prepared to make Alexandre Lacazette their highest-paid player in a bid to keep him at the Stade des Lumieres and ward off interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal.
The Gunners previously had a bid of €35m turned down and despite being ruled out for three weeks with an injury, the club remain hot on the heels of the French striker during this transfer window with Theo Walcott expected to start upfront in place of Olivier Giroud on Sunday.
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