By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal are preparing to table a new bid for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi this week, according to journalist Emanuele 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.
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.
Gazzetta Dello Sport 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 claimed last Sunday that the Londoners were just £4.2million short of agreeing a fee for the £25million-rated centre-back and reported on his personal Twitter account on Thursday morning that a new Arsenal bid is likely to be submitted within days.
A new Arsenal bid for Mustafi expected this week. #AFC
— Emanuele Giulianelli (@EmaGiulianelli) August 4, 2016
The Gunners are expected to pay between £20million and £30million for the Germany international even though he has a release clause of £42million.
It is believed that Valencia’s Sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch could use the money to to refresh Pako Ayestarán’s squad with experienced La Liga players and talented youngsters.
Mustafi 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, Wojciech Szczesny has finalised a second consecutive loan move to Serie A giants Roma.