Inter Milan have made a surprise bid for Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, as Arsene Wenger looks to trim his squad before the end of the transfer window.
The Serie A giants, who have already added seven new faces to their squad this summer, are looking to secure the German defender on a season-long loan, with a view at then completing a permanent deal for a fee in the region of £20m (€21.7m, $25.6m).
Arsenal were expected to rebuff the offer almost immediately but, according to the Mirror, there have been enough signs to encourage Inter to believe the deal could indeed be completed before the end of the transfer window.
The Nerazzurri, who opened their Serie A campaign by beating Fiorentina 3-0 on Sunday, have reportedly made contact with Arsenal and are confident an agreement between them and the player can be reached.
Mustafi joined Arsenal from Valencia for £35m last summer but after a promising start to his career in North London he suffered a hamstring two weeks before Christmas and failed to rediscover his form ever since, before missing the FA Cup final in May with concussion.
The 25-year-old, who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, ended up playing 37 games in all competitions during his first season at the Emirates and made his first Premier League appearance of the season on Saturday (19 August) in Arsenal's 1-0 defeat away at Stoke City.
Inter are not the only club looking to bring Mustafi back to Serie A, where he played two seasons with Sampdoria, as Juventus are also understood to be monitoring the situation as they look to replace centre-back Leonardo Bonucci, who joined AC Milan in a surprise move last month.
Wenger admitted last week that he needs to offload a few players before the end of the month, but allowing Mustafi to leave the Emirates after just one season would come as a major surprise particularly as Arsenal have just sold Gabriel to Valencia for £10m.
However, while it would be usual for the Gunners to part ways with two centre-backs in the same transfer window, Arsenal are also looking to overhaul their squad and getting a big a salary off their wage bill might help them in their pursuit of Monaco's winger Thomas Lemar.
The Gunners have had two bids of £30m and £40m rejected by last season's Ligue 1 champions who want closer to £80m for the France international.
Earlier this summer, the Gunners broke their own transfer record by signing Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon in a £52.6m deal, while defender Sead Kolasinac, joined on a free transfer from Schalke but the off-season has otherwise been dominated by a string of failed pursuits.