Arsenal are set to open fresh talks with Valencia over a move for Shkodran Mustafi as Arsene Wenger steps up his search for an experienced defender. Valencia are open to letting the player leave, but the Gunners will have to meet the La Liga club's valuation to bring the German to the Emirates Stadium this summer.
Per Mertesacker has been ruled out at least until the start of 2017 after he picked up a knee injury during Arsenal's pre-season game against RC Lens. This has prompted the French manager to bring in an experienced centre-half before the start of the Premier League campaign. The north London club are short of cover at centre-back with the inexperienced trio of Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Gabriel Paulista the only options available to the manager for their Premier League opener against Liverpool.
Laurent Koscienly is expected to miss the start of the season after being given an extended break following his commitments with France at this summer's European Championship and it is likely that Holding will partner Gabriel at the start of the season. Mustafi is an experienced campaigner following stints in Italy and Spain, while also establishing himself with the Germany side with some assured performances during Euro 2016.
The 24-year-old defender, who spent time as a teenager with Everton, is aware of the Premier League despite making just one appearance with the Toffees. The Sun reports that Wenger has earmarked him as the perfect candidate to step into Mertesacker's shoes this season. However, the Gunners are likely to face competition from London rivals Chelsea, who are also said to be interested in the versatile defender, who can operate in middle or at right-back.
According to the Times, the Arsenal hierarchy are ready to sanction the funds required to strengthen the team, even if it is above the market value for a certain player. The manager has indicated that he wants to sign an attacker and another defender before the close of the summer transfer window, with £40m and £35m-rated Alexandre Lacazette and Mustafi said to be his priority targets respectively.