Arsenal Ready To Swoop For Duo After Injury Crisis Hits Peak
Arsenal haven’t had the best of pre seasons.
They’ve signed another midfielder – because they needed another, they only had 24 already – in Granit Xhaka, but were devastated by the loss of Per Mertesacker, before Gabriel was crocked last weekend.
That leaves Laurent Koscielny as the Gunners’ only fit centre back, and he’s only just returned to training after being given extended rest after Euro 2016.
So Wenger has to get active in the transfer market, and he’s got his eye on two centre backs that he wants to sign ahead of the Premier League opener against Liverpool on Sunday.
The first is Shkodran Mustafi, Valencia’s German defender, who has a release clause of £42 million in his contract at the Mestalla.
Despite that, Valencia’s boss Pako Ayesteran is understood to be willing to let the 24-year-old leave for somewhere around £25 million, which is music to Wenger’s ears.
Los Che are already on the lookout for a replacement, as they expected the former Everton youth team prospect to leave this summer.
If Wenger decides the fee for the Germany international is too high – a distinct possibility considering his track record – then another target may come into play.
West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans was linked to the Gunners earlier this summer, and Wenger could return to tempt the Baggies with a £15 million bid.
The former United disaster is thought to be up for the move, and why wouldn’t you be when you’ve got Tony Pulis’ instructions to ‘hoof it towards Salomon Rondon and see what happens’ ringing in your ears.
If Wenger somehow refuses to spend, or doesn’t get anything done in time, then he may be forced to rush Koscielny back from his holiday.
But there lies a problem surely – why has the Frenchman only just returned to training with less than a week to go until Arsenal play Liverpool?
He was last in action on July 10 in the Euro 2016 final (a month ago), is two or three weeks not enough time off when you’ve only got one centre back fit?
Should Wenger not take the risk, his other options are Rob Holding (who last played a competitive game in the Championship), Krystian Bielik (an untested defensive midfielder), Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Debuchy (both full backs), or Francis Coquelin (another midfielder), so the choices aren’t the greatest.
Wenger has brought the problems on himself though, and it’s going to cost him massively in the next week.