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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger wants defender brought in by Friday

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Arsenal may have to pursue two of their supposed transfer targets in the wake of a defensive injury crisis on the eve of the opening weekend of the Premier League season, according to the Mirror.

With Gabriel Paulista suffering suspected ankle ligament damage in the 3-2 win over Manchester City on Sunday and Per Mertesacker set to be out for up to five months after suffering a knee injury earlier in pre-season against Lens, the Gunners are massively short at centre-back.

Laurent Koscielny, who was expected to be a substitute against Liverpool, may be rushed back into the first team, with Arsene Wenger desperately requiring a senior defender. Calum Chambers and new signing Rob Holding are the only other options available.

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Arsenal's hand may now be forced to pursue and potentially acquire two targets whom they had been linked with prior to Gabriel's injury, Shkodran Mustafi and Jonny Evans.

Both possess far more experience than the two young English centre-backs currently filling the role in the heart of the Gunners' defence and they may now need to be bought as a matter of urgency.

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Mustafi has been a rumoured target for quite some time now and the Valencia defender would be an astute purchase, one which should have perhaps been made even if Arsenal were injury-free.

The German defender is arguably an upgrade on Mertesacker and perhaps his international colleague's injury could be a blessing in disguise for the club, although a prolonged injury should never be something to cheer.

Evans is clearly being targeted as a stop-gap in the wake of what is a hugely unfortunate list of injuries.

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The club needs someone with Premier League experience to provide temporary cover and the Northern Irishman fits the profile, although his purchase would be met with much scepticism from the Arsenal fan base - particularly his rumoured £15m price tag.

Mustafi himself is said to be available for around £25m, despite having a £42m release clause, and in the current market, the price seems relatively cheap for a 24-year-old with bundles of talent.

Despite Valencia struggling last season, as Gary Neville would know, the German stood out as one of the most consistent performers and if anything, enhanced his reputation.

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His potential signing really could make or break for Arsenal given their current situation. As for Evans, well there have certainly been worse stop-gaps in the history of the Premier League, Wenger could do a lot worse.

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Alexis Sanchez
Football
Per Mertesacker
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Arsenal
Jonny Evans
Shkodran Mustafi
Laurent Koscielny

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