By Dominic Toner

Valencia have rejected an opening bid of £15.2million from Arsenal for defender Shkodran Mustafi, according to a report.

The London giants have been looking to bolster their defensive ranks after spate of pre-season injuries have left them short at the back, with Per Mertesacker ruled out for up to five months.

Mustafi has been strongly linked with Arsenal over the last week and Spanish media outlet Plaza Deportivo now claim the Gunners have tabled an opening offer.

The report says that it has been turned down by the Spanish club, who are holding out for a fee of between £21-25million for Mustafi, who has a £42.2million buy-out clause inserted in his contract.

Arsene 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 Mirror claim that Arsene Wenger will move for West Brom defender Jonny Evans in a £15million swoop.

Mustafi, 24, has won 12 caps for his country after establishing himself as a regular for La Liga side Valencia 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, they have received a major boos in their striker hunt as manager admits a deal could now happen.