Arsenal vice-captain Per Mertesacker is hoping to use his friendship with German international team-mate Mats Hummels to broker a deal for the Borussia Dortmund star that the Gunners desperately need.
Hummels has been linked with a move to the Premier League almost non-stop since he helped Germany win the World Cup, primarily because both Arsenal and Manchester United are both short of exactly the kind of imposing qualities the 25-year-old can provide in the centre of defence.
Dortmund are reportedly demanding a staggering fee approaching £47 million to part with their skipper in January, but the Daily Mail believe that hasn't stopped Mertesacker talking to Hummels about the possibility of joining him at Arsenal in the very near future.
Mertesacker trying to help save Arsenal's season
Gunners fans have been quite painfully been forced to accept over the last three weeks that their defensive options are woefully short of the standard required to mount a title challenge, with Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United once again exposing those deficiencies.
Injuries have played their part but Arsene Wenger's decision not to sign a top centre-back to replace Thomas Vermaelen now looks a poor one, particularly when Hummels has previously expressed a desire to test his skills in the Premier League.
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Is Wenger prepared to spend big on Hummels?
Mertesacker can work on Hummels and wax lyrical about what Arsenal have to offer all he wants, unless Wenger is prepared to spend big then United will remain favourites to clinch his signature.
United proved last summer that they will pay a premium for top-class players and will do the same again in January, if they genuinely believe a deal for one of their top targets is on the cards.
Injuries have blighted Hummels' start to the season and Dortmund's Bundesliga campaign in turn, which may mean this particular transfer chase will have to wait until next summer.
Neither United or Arsenal can afford to wait until the end of the season though, so don't be surprised if sheer desperation forces at least one into the madness of the mid-season transfer market in a deal for Hummels or another established, proven central defender.
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