Arsenal fans have been desperately waiting for Arsene Wenger to make another significant move in the transfer market. An early deal for Granit Xhaka appeared to suggest a very busy summer at the Emirates but two months later and we are still waiting for the spending to resume.
But the wait for another international star may finally be about to end with The Times reporting that a deal for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi has moved closer in the last 24 hours.
Unexpected injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista left Wenger scrambling around for a new established centre-back ahead of their Premier League opener against Liverpool.
Article continues below
Wenger has admitted that Arsenal's squad will have to cope with the injuries for Sunday's game against Jurgen Klopp's men, leaving Calum Chambers and Rob Holding as the likely centre-back pairing.
But Mustafi could well be an Arsenal player by the time their second game against champions Leicester City kicks off a week later. Negotiations are believed to have reached a breakthrough on Wednesday with a deal in the region of £20million on the table.
Article continues below
Speculation further intensified when the Germany international was left out of Valencia’s friendly against a Nigeria all-star team. Mustafi is very interested in joining the Gunners and no problems are expected in contract negotiations.
It has certainly been a frustrating summer for both the Frenchman and Arsenal fans. Going into the pre-season, Arsenal were fully expected to sign an established striker. Wenger clearly felt one was necessary with a £20m deal for Jamie Vardy coming ever so close to completion, only for the English striker to reject the move.
Another bid was placed for Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette but the £30m offer was some way short of the £41m asking price. While some reports have suggested an improved bid is in the offing, it is also believed Lyon will close the door if it is left too late.
One deal that appears unlikely to happen is that of Riyad Mahrez. Reports in France seem adamant that Arsenal are trying to sign the PFA Player of the Year but the British press unanimously agree that a deal will not happen.
The Algerian winger was reportedly the subject of a £35m bid from Arsenal, but the same report from The Times says he is much more likely to sign an improved £100,000-a-week contract with the Foxes.