Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal are expected to sign a defender before the end of the transfer window amid the recent speculation linking the Gunners with German international Shkodran Mustafi. Meanwhile, the French manager also admitted that he is still looking to bolster his attack but was coy about the possibility to sign Leiceister City star Riyah Mahrez and Lyon striker Alexander Lacazette.
Yet, the club have been forced to go into the market to bolster the back line further, after Per Mertesacker picked up a serious knee injury during a pre-season fixture against Lens. Wenger later admitting the German could be out of action until the end of 2016.
Sky Germany has since claimed that the Gunners have opened talks to sign Valencia centre-back Mustafi in a deal that could worth around £25.3m ($33.4m) plus a further £8.4m in add-ons.
Wenger has refused to name any of his targets but, speaking at a press conference on Saturday, admitted he is definitely going to bolster his back line.
"Yes I do (expect to sign a defender before the season star)," the manager said as quoted by the Arsenal 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."
Yet the Gunners have been linked with a number of forwards during this summer as Wenger is desperately looking to provide competition for Olivier Giroud in the number nine role. Reports in Algeria earlier this week suggested that Arsenal are in negotiations to secure the services of Leicester star Mahrez, in a week where Lyon officially revealed that they had rejected an offer from Arsenal worth €35m (£29.5m) for Lacazette.
The Telegraph have reported that the Gunners are ready to launch a new improved bid of £35m to finally secure the Lyon striker following their unsuccessful attempt to bring Jamie Vardy earlier in the summer.
But asked about the possibility to sign Mahrez and Lacazette, Wenger replied: "The best way to conclude transfers is not to talk about them, which is very difficult in the press conference! We are on the market but I don't want to talk specifically about any player because that makes it more difficult for me − and it's difficult enough."
One way or another the Arsenal boss has insisted that the Gunners will only sign players that can really increase the level of the current squad.
"I buy players that I feel can strengthen our team. Today you have to be very strong inside the club when you are responsible, not just to buy [for the sake of buying]," he said. "There's always a wave of opinions. I must say people are better informed today − they know all the players. They tell you always that you should buy but when you ask them who to buy, they become much shorter.
"If you look at the market in Europe, there's a lot of money available but not many players who really strengthen the teams. If you look at the teams that spend the most money in Europe, they're not necessarily the teams that won the championships. The global investment of the clubs around us didn't stop Leicester winning the championship."