By Wayne Veysey

6th Aug, 2016 | 10:41pm

Reliable journalist: Arsenal line up £19.5m bid for 24-year-old, Wenger has plan

By London correspondent Tony Hughes

Arsenal are waiting on Valencia to find a replacement before they lodge a £19.5million bid for Shkodran Mustafi, according to journalist Emmanuele 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.

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 revealed on Saturday night that Arsenal are playing a waiting game before submitting an official £19.5m offer for Mustafi.

Intriguingly, Giulianelli states that Wenger is ready to pursue other centre-backs if they become available.

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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 Gunners would not expect to pay much more than £20million for Mustafi even though he has a release clause of £42million.

The Germany international 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.