Shkodran Mustafi's agent Ali Bulut has backtracked on his comments regarding the defender's imminent move to Arsenal, stating that the negotiations are still taking place between Valencia and Arsenal and that no agreement had been reached between the player and the English club.
The player's representative was quoted as saying by German website Spox.com that Mustafi had come to an agreement with the Gunners, with only the fee for the player yet to be decided. However, he since gone back on his statement and confirmed that while talks are taking place between the two clubs, there is no agreement in place at the moment.
"There are discussions, but there is no agreement - neither between Arsenal and Mustafi still between Valencia and Arsenal," Bulut told German publication Kicker, stating that he was misquoted by the German sport website.
Arsene Wenger has made signing a centre-back a priority in the remainder of the transfer market following a spate of injuries to the senior defenders in the squad. Per Mertesacker has been ruled out for four months with a knee injury, while Gabriel Paulista suffered an ankle injury during Arsenal's final pre-season game against Manchester City, which will see him miss the first six to eight weeks of the campaign.
The Gunners face Liverpool in their season opener at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday (14 August) and Wenger has Calum Chambers and summer signing Rob Holding as his only fit centre-backs. Laurent Koscielny is injury-free, but lacks match fitness after returning to training just six days prior to the start of the season. This has forced the French manager to expedite his search and has identified Mustafi as the perfect candidate to add solidity to the backline.
The Daily Mail reports that the Gunners are at an advanced stage in their negotiations and are expecting the deal to be completed within the next 48 hours. The player is said to have agreed a five-year deal worth around £75,000 a week with just a fee yet to be agreed between the two clubs.
The 24-year-old defender has a £42m ($54.4m) release clause in his contract, but the La Liga club are said to be willing to accept a lower fee of around £30m for Mustafi, owing to their problems with Financial Fair Play regulations, which Arsenal are reluctantly willing to match. However, even if the move goes through by the weekend, he will not be available for Arsenal's clash against the Reds on Sunday.