Arsenal have been hit by a full blown defensive crisis ahead of the start of the new season. They have been strongly linked with a move for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi, but it looks like they will not be able to complete the transfer in time for their season opener against Liverpool.
A defensive signing has become one of the top priorities for the Gunners this summer, as injuries to three central defenders has given them serious cause for worry before the start of the season. Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi, who plays for Valencia in La Liga, has been among Arsene Wenger’s top targets in recent weeks.
Last week Los Che reportedly rejected a £15.5 million offer made by Arsenal for the 24-year-old. However, Mustafi was left out of Valencia’s match against a Nigeria all-star team on Wednesday, with the two clubs now close to agreeing on a transfer after the Gunners upped their offer to a reported £20 million, according to the Times.
There is very little time left for the start of the season though and it is highly improbable that Mustafi will feature in Arsenal’s difficult opening fixture against Liverpool.
Shkodran Mustafi will definitely be a huge addition to the Gunners’ defence, with the Germany international capable of being the long-term heir to his 31-year-old compatriot Per Mertesacker.
Mertesacker has been ruled out of action for as long as five months after he pulled out of the pre-season tour because of a knee injury. His back-up Gabriel Paulista recently suffered an ankle injury in the pre-season game against Man City and he is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
Laurent Koscielny, the other mainstay of the Gunners defence, has just returned to training after a long break following his run to the Euro 2016 final with the France national team. The Frenchman would ideally have been eased into things by Wenger, but the defensive crisis means that he will have to get back into the groove sooner rather than later. Koscielny will probably be partnered by new signing Rob Holding, as the Gunners hope to get their campaign off to a good start against Liverpool.