By Alex Taylor

Arsenal have opened talks with Atletico Madrid over a deal to sign Jose Gimenez, according to a report.

The Daily Mail claim the Gunners have made a move for £40million-rated defender in the wake of their recent crisis at the back.

It is said that the centre-back, 21, has a £56million release clause although Arsenal are unwilling to pay such a high fee.

Gimenez is believed to be open to a move to the Premier League but the north Londoners are baulking at Atletico’s current £40million valuation.

The Uruguay international has emerged as the latest defensive target for Arsene Wenger as he aims to bolster the his side’s defensive ranks following a spate of pre-season injuries that have left him without Per Mertesacker and Gabriel for the opening months of the season.

The Mail report that Arsenal remain locked in discussions to sign Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia but have also turned to Gimenez as an alternative.

Sky Sports’ Spanish expert Guillem Balague has claimed this week that the Gunners were poised to sign Mustafi from Valencia for a fee of £25.9million, but no deal has been agreed between the sides.

Arsenal were left with the inexperienced pairing of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding in defense on Sunday afternoon as they slumped to a 4-3 opening day defeat against Liverpool.

Gimenez, who has key Champions League experience, featured in 37 games in all competitions last season for Atletico and picked up nine yellow cards throughout the campaign.

The youngster has already played 84 matches in his short career, scoring three goals and providing four assists in the process.

The former Danubio FC star has two years remaining on his current deal but could be tempted by a move to the Premier League.

In other Arsenal transfer news, Liverpool are negotiating a deal with Valencia to sign Gunners target Mustafi, according to a report.