Arsenal hold fresh talks over Mustafi transfer

Arsene Wenger is in urgent need of defensive cover at the Emirates

Arsenal are understood to be negotiating terms with Valencia over a deal to sign Germany centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.

Reports in recent days have suggested the Gunners have already had an £18 million rejected by Valencia for the 24-year-old, while the Spanish outfit have rejected claims that the north Londoners have made a bid.

However, Wenger has given the green light for the transfer to go ahead, after losing Per Mertesacker to injury earlier in pre-season, Gabriel struggling for fitness and Laurent Koscielny set to miss Arsenal’s season opener against Liverpool, due to his exploits at Euro 2016.

It is understood Valencia will accept offers in excess of £20 million for the defender, who was a part of Germany’s European Championships squad this summer, and Wenger is ready to meet their demands in order end his defensive crisis.

Mustafi spent three years at Everton as a youngster, before moving on to Sampdoria in Serie A, and then heading into La Liga. And third parties are understood to have been trying to tempt Wenger to make a move for Mustafi.

Valencia, who inserted a £42.4 million release clause in Mustafi’s contract, are so confident that a deal will be struck to sell the defender, that they have already lined up Napoli’s Raul Albiol as a replacement.

But Wenger will be anxious to get the deal over the line as quickly as possible, to not only bed him in with the rest of the Gunners squad, but to avoid Chelsea making a late swoop for the German.

It is understood Antonio Conte would love to bring Mustafi to Stamford Bridge, as the player has the ability to play on either flank and wants versatile cover at the back.

However, while Wenger is keen to strike a deal for the Valencia defender, the club are also in talks to complete a deal for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, having already seen a £29 million rejected by the Ligue 1 outfit.

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