Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Schokdran Mustafi after nearing an agreement with Valencia.

The Gunners have been haggling with the Spanish club over a fee for the 24-year-old Germany international and have reached a breakthrough after offering £20 million for his services.

Mustafi was left out of the Valencia squad which faced a Nigeria all-star team on Wednesday, heightening speculation he was on a verge of a move to north London.

Arsenal need for defensive cover has been heightened by the injuries suffered in pre-season by Per Mertesacker, who will be out of action until January, and Gabriel whose ankle sprain will see him miss the first two months of the season.

Like Wenger, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is also after a new centre-back. Chelsea have been linked with Roma’s Kostas Manolas and Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. But the Stamford Bridge side have hit a brick wall in their pursuits of the Serie A duo and they were keeping an eye on the Valencia defender.

Arsene Wenger is expected to wrap up the deal for Mustafi imminently, but not in time for him to be in contention for selection on Sunday when Arsenal face Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in their Premier League opener.

With Laurent Koscielny only having returned to full training on Wednesday, Calum Chambers, 21, and Rob Holding, 20, are likely to form an extremely inexperienced central defensive partnership.

The 24-year-old Germany international has emerged as a top defensive talent after impressing at Sampdoria and Valencia and has been part of German squads at the last two major international tournaments.

So far Arsenal have been rather conservative in the transfer market. Granit Xhaka was a big early buy, but only future prospects Takuma Asano and Rob Holding have arrived since.






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