Arsene Wenger has confirmed he is trying to lure Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi to Arsenal this summer and hopes to get a deal over the line before the transfer deadline next week.
The Frenchman has been forced to play Rob Holding in defence for the opening two games, with the former Bolton Wanderers centre-back filling in admirably, but cover is required if the Gunners are to challenge for the Premier League title.
Wenger’s men are yet to pick up their first victory of the season after the opening weekend defeat by Liverpool was followed by a goalless stalemate with champions Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
“Mustafi? We hope it will be done,” Wenger told French TV station SFR Sport. “He is one of a number of players we are looking at. Negotiations are on-going.”
The north London outfit could be about to suffer yet more frustration, however, with the Daily Mirror reporting that Valencia are demanding in excess of £50m for the 24-year-old, in contrary to reports that he has a £42.1m release clause in his contract.
The Spanish club are fully aware of the pressure of Wenger’s shoulders – with fans again calling for the Frenchman to spend in the transfer market on Saturday evening – and are looking capitalise by using Mustafi as bait.
Meanwhile, Wenger has revealed how he was forced to take a risk on the fitness of defender Laurent Koscielny ahead of the trip to Leicester. The France international left training early on Friday afternoon with a “big back problem” but started nonetheless in the East Midlands.
The 66-year-old said: “That made a big difference today. I saw that we were a bit too young and I have no real solution at central defence at the moment. In fairness he had a big back problem yesterday so he came out of the training. We came with 19 players and this morning we decided that he could play and I think it saved us this point.”
Finally, Turkish club Caykur Rizespor are closing in on a double swoop for former Arsenal pair Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Adebayor. “We reached an agreement in principle with both players,” Caykur Rizespor coach Hikmet Karaman told Anadolu Agency.
“They'll come to Rize within a few days and the last step of negotiations are going to be done. This is down to everyone devotedly working to finish the deals, so I have to thank the board of directors and our president.”
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