By Alex Taylor

Arsenal are just £4.2million short of agreeing a fee for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi, according to journalist Emanuele Giulianelli.

The north London outfit have been looking to bolster their 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.

Arsene Wenger has admitted that he is in the market for a new centre-back with Mustafi linked as one possible option in recent days, although midfielder enforcer Francis Coquelin is being considered as a stop-gap option.

Gazzetta Dello Sport journalist and transfer expert Giulianelli tweeted on Sunday that a deal for the Germany international is being discussed by Arsenal and the Spanish outfit.

He said: “Mustafi, Arsenal and Valencia are still €5mln far away for the fee.

The Gunners are expected to pay between £20million and £30million for the Germany international despite the player having 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, 24, 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.