Arsenal have made Shkodran Mustafi their priority summer target after being handed a major blow at the back in the form of an injury to Gabriel in their pre-season friendly against Manchester City. The Brazilian rolled his ankle in injury time for which he had to be stretchered off the pitch and is out of the Gunners' game against Liverpool for the weekend.
The Telegraph reports that the Gunners have postponed their search for a striker in the aftermath of the injury and are set to make a £20m ($26m) bid for the Valencia man in the next 48 hours. The Gunners are also interested in signing West Bromwich defender Jonny Evans but the Baggies are reportedly holding on for a much higher fee than the £15m ($20m) offer that the Gunners are willing to present.
The Gunners are very short at the back with Per Mertesacker also out for the year with a knee injury and Laurent Koscielny ruled out of the game against Liverpool after only just returning to pre-season training following his participation in the Euros. Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Krystian Bielik are the only available options for Arsene Wenger at this point, which would be a massive risk given Liverpool's performance against Barcelona where they battered the Catalans 4-0 in a friendly.
The 24-year-old defender, who spent time as a teenager with Everton, is acquainted with 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.
Wenger has previously stated that he is in the market for a forward and a defender before the summer transfer window ends but has to expedite his search if they have to start the season on a high. The Gunners have not won the title in 12 years and a similar start to last year, where they lost 2-0 at home to West Ham, would infuriate the fans and could lead to a crisis situation at the club.