Arsenal have been given the all-clear to make a move for Bayer Leverkusen defender Omer Toprak after the Bundesliga club confirmed the signing of Aleksandar Dragovic from Dynamo Kiev. Arsene Wenger had identified the Turkish defender as an alternative if a move for Shkodran Mustafi fails.
According to Sky Sports, the Gunners had identified Toprak as a possible alternative after they failed to agree a fee with Valencia despite agreeing personal terms with the Germany international. The arrival of the Austrian defender opens the door for the Turkey international to complete the transfer, as the German club now have one too many central defenders vying for the same position.
Wenger has been desperately trying to bring in a defender before the close of the summer transfer window owing to injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista and recently confirmed interest in signing Mustafi. Valencia manager Pako Ayestaran, however, made it clear following Valencia's opening game of the season that the defender is not for sale.
"Mustafi is not for sale and he will stay at VCF. The market is open and there are still possibilities," Ayesteran said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
"With Alcacer I can be as firm as with Mustafi, [club president] Lay Hoon already said it. The president has said in public that Alcacer and Mustafi are not for sale and I have to believe her," he added.
The Frenchman will now have to turn to an alternative option and according to Turkish-Football, Leverkusen will sanction a move for Toprak after completing the signing of the Austrian defender. The Turkey international had also indicated he could leave the club this summer. How much the defender is valued at is still unknown, but it is likely to be much lower than the £50m ($66m) demanded by Valencia for Mustafi, according to the Mirror.
"It is not certain whether I will stay at Bayer Leverkusen, we still have a month and anything could happen until them," Toprak said earlier in the month on a proposed move away from the Bundesliga club, as quoted by Turkish-Football.com