Arsenal have made contact with Valencia over a transfer for German defender Shkodran Mustafi, according to sources in Germany and Italy.
The injury to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista’s sickness have made a problem area a potential crisis as Arsenal travel to the United States with just one senior centre back able to play. Mertesacker could be out for a couple of months, while Gabriel is suffering with tonsillitis which only adds to the long list of defensive injuries. Centre back Laurent Koscielny is also expected to miss the start of the Premier League season after receiving an extended break following the European Championships.
Because of the injuries, the link to Mustafi makes sense on many levels. He is just 24 years old but the Valencia player has vast experience. He has played in Serie A, La Liga, and represented Germany at both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 European Championships. Mustafi once played for Everton but made just one first team appearance for the club before moving to Sampdoria. He signed for Valencia in 2014 and has been a starting defender ever since.
The links come from two main sources, journalists Emanuele Giulianelli and Jan Age Fjortoft. Giulianelli tweeted “Last week contacts made between Arsenal and the agent of Shkodran Mustafi, German defender.” The journalist later stated that signing a forward is Arsenal’s priority and that Inter Milan defender Jeison Murillo is also a potential option at centre back.
Jan Age Fjortoft is one of the more reliable journalists for Arsenal news, especially for German players. He tweeted “Looks like Arsenal are after defender Shkodran Mustafi. The German plays for Sevilla.”
Like Fjortoft mentioned, the move would certainly make sense. Arsenal are short at centre back even when everyone is fit. Mertesacker isn’t getting any younger and there are question marks over whether Gabriel Paulista or Calum Chambers can play as first choice central defenders for a whole season.
It’s unclear how much Mustafi would cost but with the hunt for a forward well underway, any deal for the defender might have to wait however it appears it may be a priority.