Arsenal have been in talks to sign Valencia centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, but the deal may have become significantly more complicated as the La Liga outfit are now reportedly looking for £50 million for the Germany international.
The Gunners have identified a defensive signing as one of their main priorities this summer, as veteran centre-back Per Mertesacker has been ruled for five months. The 31-year-old German is hitting the twilight years of his footballing career, and Arsenal need to sign a long-term replacement for the former Werder Bremen man.
One of the players they have been most strongly linked with is 24-year-old Shkodran Mustafi. The Germany international currently plays for La Liga club Valencia, who had reportedly set a £25 million price-tag on him. Arsenal have been playing hard ball with the deal, recently increasing their offer to £20 million after lengthy negotiations.
Los Che were unwilling to sell for a lower price though and Arsenal may now rue the decision to not agree on the asking fee when initial negotiations took place. Valencia have now substantially increased the asking price to £50 million in an effort to generate funds for their own pursuit of Chelsea attacker Pedro, according to The Mirror.
This may be the final nail in the coffin for the Mustafi deal, even as Arsenal fans voice their fury at the prolonged negotiations over a player they could have signed for a reasonable price just a few weeks ago. Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are unlikely to acquiesce to Valencia’s demands, but the reports state that they may be willing to go over £25 million.
The links to Pedro are dubious at best. The Chelsea forward will probably not be too keen to return to the Spanish league and join a direct rival of his beloved former club Barcelona. The 29-year-old La Masia graduate was purchased by the Blues last summer for £19 million.
However, this may be a ploy by Los Che to drive up the price of Mustafi, who reportedly has a £42.1 million release clause written into his contract. It is now up to Wenger to call Valencia’s bluff or break the bank to sign the player as deadline day fast approaches.