Arsenal are planning an audacious move for former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans as the Gunners look to replace Per Mertesacker in the middle of defence. The north London club will be without Laurent Koscielny for the first few games with the Frenchman still on holiday following his travails with France at the Euros.

According to The Mirror, Evans has emerged as a possible candidate to move to north London after an impressive season at the Hawthorns with West Bromwich Albion. Having left Old Trafford in search for regular first team football in 2015, Evans played at centre-back and on the right for Tony Pulis' men and would be a good addition to the Gunners squad, given his years of Premier League experience.

The 28-year-old was part of the Northern Ireland team that made it to the round-of-16 at the Euros, but were beaten by Wales – who crashed out in the semis to eventual winners Portugal. He made 34 appearances for the Baggies last season and can be slotted alongside Koscielny or Gabriel in defence.

The Gunners have also been linked with a move for Germany's Shkodran Mustafi, who is likely to leave Valencia this summer after an impressive outing with the national team at the European Championship. The German has a release cause of £42.1m ($55.6m), but it is believed Arsenal can land their fourth summer signing for around £25.3m plus a further £8.4m in add-ons. Arsene Wenger had previously confirmed that the Gunners are in the market for a defender and are looking to conclude a deal before their season opener against Liverpool on 14 August.

Jonny Evans
onny Evans of Northern Ireland applauds after his team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France.Getty

"Yes I do [expect to sign a defender before the season starts]," the manager said as quoted by the Arsenal's website. "We are still on the market for players. [Be it] at the front or at the back − we are on the market. Unfortunately, we are not alone," he added.