By Will Butcher
Arsenal have lined up two new defender targets as alternatives to Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi, according to a reliable journalist.
BBC Sport reporter David Ornstein claimed on his personal Twitter account on Monday night that Bayer Leverkusen’s Omer Toprak and Fenerbahce’s Simon Kjaer are on the radar of the London giants.
But Ornstein claims that Mustafi remains the “priority” for Arsenal but they have yet to agree a fee with his club Valencia.
Sky Sports claimed on their transfer centre blog on Sunday night (7.59pm) that Mustafi is keen to join the Gunners as they seek defensive cover following a spate of injuries at the back.
The former Everton defender was reportedly the subject of a £26million offer from Arsenal last week, which has since been turned down by the La Liga giants.
It remains to be seen whether the Gunners will return with a second bid for the German international, and it seems manager Arsene Wenger is keeping his options open.
Fenerbahce’s nomadic defender, Kjaer, brings a wealth of experience from all over Europe following spells in Denmark, Germany, Italy, France and Turkey.
The 27-year-old cost the Turkish giants £6.6million last summer and has three years remaining on his four-year deal. Given the former Roma and Wolfsburg defender’s tendency to move, Kjaer could be keen on a North London move.
Unlike Kjaer, Turkey international Toprak has played for just two clubs during his career after signing for Leverkusen in 2011 from Bundesliga rivals Freiburg.
Similarly to Kjaer, Toprak would be a cheaper alternative to Mustafi and Ornstein claimed that the Gunners are looking to save money as Wenger looks to bring in a new striker to ease the burden on Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal shipped four goals on Sunday against Liverpool after starting inexperienced centre-back duo Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. Laurent Koscielny is lacking in match fitness, while Mertersacker and Gabriel remain as long-term absentees.
In other Arsenal transfer news, this 43million-rated striker has flown into North London for talks over a sensational transfer.