Arsene Wenger has stepped up his search for a central defender with Arsenal said to have opened talks with Valencia over a move for Shkodran Mustafi. The Gunners are currently facing a shortage of experienced central defenders following Per Mertesacker's recent injury, which is likely to sideline him for a few months.

The French manager does have Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel Paulista, Calum Chambers and summer signing Rob Holding at his disposal, but the latter two lack experience, while the Brazilian is still not a regular in the starting XI. Moreover, Koscielny is set to miss the start of the season after being given an extended break following his participation with France at Euro 2016.

According to Sky Sports, the Gunners have opened talks with Valencia over a move for the defender, but they are yet to make a formal offer. 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.

Wenger has confirmed that he will sign another defender this summer, and it has taken more priority after Mertesacker underwent surgery post Arsenal's first pre-season game against Lens. Mustafi's agent is expected to arrive in Spain to hold talks with the club over a summer move.

The 24-year-old defender is aware of the Premier League after he spent two-and-a-half years at Everton from 2009 to 2012, when he came up through the youth ranks. However, he made just one appearance for the Toffees before securing a move to Sampdoria in the Serie A. His impressive showing in Italy earned him a move to Valencia and also saw him nail down a spot in the German national team, for whom he has made 12 appearances thus far.

Shkodran Mustafi
Shkodran Mustafi has made 12 appearances for Germany and impressed during Euro 2016Getty