Arsenal needs a new central defender now, but with things progressing slowly between the club and priority target Shkodran Mustafi, the club has been forced to consider other options.
According to BBC’s David Ornstein, the Gunners still want to bring Mustafi to the Emirates, and the player is on board as well, but Arsenal has yet been unable to agree on a fee with Valencia.
From Ornstein’s tweets, it sounds like Arsenal is the ones being stubborn over their valuation of the player, not Valencia. Considering the defensive crisis at the Emirates, the Gunners don’t seem in a position to haggle, but according to Ornstein, their minds are also elsewhere: on a new striker.
With funds not endless at the Emirates, the Gunners are trying to save as much money on a defensive replacement as possible to leave themselves with more wiggle room on bringing in an attacker prior to the end of the transfer window.
Should the Gunners decide signing Mustafi would drain their budget more than desired, Ornstein reports they will target Bayer Leverkusen’s Omer Toprak or Fenerbahce defender Simon Kjaer. Toprak, a 27-year-old Turkish international with 23 caps, has been in the German leagues his entire club career, with Bayer since 2011 after joining from Freiburg. Kjaer is also 27 and has 60 caps for Denmark, having played for four clubs in four different leagues over the last six years.