Arsenal will meet with representatives of Shkodran Mustafi in a bid to push through a summer transfer despite latest interest from Chelsea, according to the latest report from The Sun.
The Gunners are reportedly closing in on the signing of the Valencia centre-back as Arsene Wenger looks to solve his defensive crisis.
Arsenal are believed to have placed a £25.3million bid for the Germany international but Mustafi, who had a spell at Everton, is rumoured to have a £42m release clause in his contract at Valencia.
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 are now keeping an eye on the Valencia defender.
Wenger will be starting the season without both Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, leaving him short of options. Gabriel is also lacking fitness.
But Mustafi, 24, could have his move completed before the season-opener against Liverpool.
He has reportedly been offered to Arsenal by third-party agents and Wenger is happy to complete a deal to help bolster his options.
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.
Meanwhile, Arsenal hierarchy is now reportedly set to hand over the cash to complete the necessary deals before the summer is out. The decision was taken after a closed-door emergency meeting with Wenger.
Arsenal had initially planned to cap their summer spending at £100million, but after Granit Xhaka was landed for £30million, club officials accept that they might have to part with more than £70million.
Lacazette on his own is expected to cost around £50million, while Valencia wants to keep Mustafi in their ranks.