Arsenal have agreed a stunning £31.5 million deal to sign Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels in the January transfer window, reports the Daily Star.
The Germany international has been the subject of intense transfer speculation since winning the World Cup in the summer. Both Arsenal and Manchester United have been strongly linked with Hummels, but it appears it is the Gunners who have won the race.
Arsene Wenger had already confirmed his intentions to sign a defender in the January transfer window, but it was expected he would go for a squad player rather than someone to replace Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny.
However, there is now significant doubt over the long-term future of Koscielny and Wenger seems to have opted to sign a replacement halfway through the season. Talks with Dortmund are reported to be in an advanced stage, with a fee of £31.5 million already being agreed.
The report states that Arsenal have already agreed a transfer fee with Jurgen Klopp's men, but it appears personal terms still have to be ironed out. But unless Hummels decides to stay with the team he captains, there is unlikely to be an issue with wages.
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If true, the news would come as a significant blow to Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, who had maintained an interest in the 25-year-old since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer.
Manchester United's defence has struggled with both form and fitness so far this season with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans all spending significant time in the treatment room. A big signing like Hummels would have gone a long way to filling the void left by Nemanja Vidic.
Arsenal's need has been just as desperate with only three recognised centre-backs currently plying their trade. One of those, Koscielny, has been diagnosed with a chronic Achilles condition, which threatens to rule him out for a significant amount of time.
Mertesacker is soon to be the wrong side of 30 and Calum Chambers also has to cover for the injured Mathieu Debuchy at right-back. Hummels should allow Wenger the option to rotate his injury-prone stars.
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