By Amir Mir
Arsenal will make a bid for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi on Tuesday, according to journalist Emmanuele Giulianelli.
The Germany international, 24, has emerged as a prime target for Arsene Wenger as he aims to bolster the Gunners’ defensive ranks after a spate of pre-season injuries have left them short at the back, with Per Mertesacker ruled out for up to five months and Gabriel hit by an ankle problem.
This leaves Wenger with no senior centre-backs for the Premier League opener against Liverpool on Sunday as Laurent Koscielny has not been involved in pre-season following an extended break after Euro 2016.
Gazzetta Dello Sport and Tribal Football journalist and transfer expert Giulianelli first broke the news of Arsenal’s interest in Mustafi and has delivered regular updates on the deal in the last fortnight.
He revealed on his personal Twitter account on Monday afternoon that Mustafi, 24 is being prioritised by Arsenal and there is expected to be some movement on the deal in the next 24 hours.
“As expected Arsenal are going to be submitting a bid for Mustafi tomorrow,” Giulianelli wrote on his personal Twitter account, adding that Wenger wanted a centre-back signed before Sunday’s match.
Wenger has admitted that he is in the market for a new centre-back, although midfielder enforcer Francis Coquelin is being considered as a stop-gap option.
The Gunners would not expect to pay much more than £20million for Mustafi even though he has a release clause of £42million.
The Germany international has won 12 caps for his country after establishing himself as a regular for his La Liga side since his transfer from Sampdoria in 2014.
The former Everton academy graduate featured for the World Cup winners at Euro 2016 and scored in the opening match against Ukraine, which his team won 2-0.
Mustafi has three years left on his current deal in Germany but could be tempted by a move to the Premier League.
In other Arsenal transfer news, manager Arsene Wenger has lined up this ex-Manchester United fan favourite.