Arsenal fans desperate to see their club bring in defensive reinforcements after their 3-4 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday may have been offered a glimmer of hope after comments from Valencia director of football, Jesús García Pitarch.
Valencia, of course, are the club for whom top Arsenal transfer target, German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, plies his trade. They are also a club who must sell one more player this summer in order to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations.
And, in comments relayed by The Telegraph today, their director of football all but acknowledged that a centre back could well be on their way out of Valencia in the near future in order to balance the books.
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"We’re above the FFP guidelines, that’s the reality," Pitarch said. "And as of today, the four players we’ve signed cannot be registered.
"Meaning we need to reduce the cost in a significant manner to register the players and sign a centre-back, which is a priority in case one of the ones at our club leaves."
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Although he didn't name Mustafi specifically, the German international's uncertain future has been well-documented in recent weeks as Arsenal look to secure his services.
Things appeared to have hit a standstill earlier this week because, to Arsenal fans' frustration, Wenger and co. were unwilling to meet the £25 million valuation for the defender.
Today's comments, however, do suggest that Valencia know they can only play hard ball for so long. With FFP punishments looming, they are seemingly preparing themselves for the idea that they could be one centre back down in the not too distant future.
“Obviously, if they don’t leave, we can’t sign a new one not only because of financial restrictions, but also because it wouldn’t be logical to have five or six centre-backs," he continued.
"We need to continue with a reduced budget, but if there’s an exit, we need a new centre-back."
With Per Mertesacker and Gabriel out for four and two months respectively, Arsenal are in desperate need of experienced defensive cover.
Mustafi - a 12 cap Germany international - would certainly be an upgrade on Rob Holding and Calum Chambers at the back.
In fact, there are already reports suggesting personal terms have been agreed with the player. The question, though, remains whether Arsenal will be willing to pay the required fee to bring the 24-year-old to the Emirates.
The Valencia chief's remarks today appear to have left the door well and truly open for negotiations to continue. The ball now appears to be back in the Gunners' court.
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