By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal upped their bid for Shkodran Mustafi by £19million this week to seal the deal, according to a reliable journalist.
It was widely reported on Thursday night that Arsenal had made a breakthrough in their lengthy pursuit of the Germany centre-back.
Sky Sports’ Spanish expert Guillem Balague claimed that the Gunners increased their offer for the 24-year-old from £15.4million to £34.2million to reach an agreement with Valencia.
Balague stated on his personal Twitter account on Thursday night that the La Liga club did not want to cash in on Mustafi and rejected Arsenal’s original offer.
But the London club returned to the negotiating table and convinced Valencia to sell the defender.
Valencia did not want to lose Mustafi and said no to the original €18m offer from Arsenal. But the last offer of €40m has convinced them
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 25, 2016
Arsenal are also set to land Deportivo La Coruna striker Lucas Perez after triggering his £17.1million release clause.
The two new imminent signings will cost combined fees of over £52million and will be a huge relief to Arsenal fans, who have been frustrated that their club have begun the season with a team weakened by injury and availability issues.
Manager Arsene Wenger has also been heavily criticised for his caution in a transfer market marked by inflated fees this summer in the wake of the mammoth new Premier League TV deal.
Perez will join an Arsenal attack that has been spearheaded by wide man Alexis Sanchez in the opening two Premier League matches, while Olivier Giroud works his way back to fitness after Euro 2016.
Perez, who joined Deportivo permanently last summer for £1.3million after spending the previous season on loan from PAOK, scored 17 La Liga goals in 2015-16 to ensure Deportivo escaped the drop from Spain’s top flight.
In all competitions he scored 19 goals and supplied 11 assists from just 39 matches for the Spanish club.
Wenger admitted last weekend that Arsenal were in talks to sign 24-year-old La Liga defender Mustafi.
The 66-year-old confirmed for the first time that he hopes a deal for the Germany international will be completed as the Gunners look to replace crocked defensive duo Gabriel and Per Mertesacker.
“Mustafi? We hope it will be done,” Wenger said. “He is one of a number of players we are looking at. Negotiations are ongoing.”
German defender 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.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the Gunners have joined the chase for a Newcastle regular.