Arsenal offer €15m plus bonuses for Sokratis Papastathopoulos

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Arsenal have widened their search for quality defensive cover and tabled an initial €15m offer for Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos this afternoon, according to Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.

Wenger missed out on another Greek defender in Kostas Manolas earlier this week and now wants Papastathopoulos to provide quality competition for places instead, with a bonus scheme included in the bid Dortmund received earlier today.

Dortmund want €25m before they'll consider allowing a versatile option in Papastathopoulos to leave though, which means there's still some serious negotiating to be done if Arsenal are to finally find a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen.

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Centre-back search continues

Arsenal fans are no doubt desperate to see a new striker arrive at the Emirates before the transfer deadline arrives at 11pm on Monday night, but the need to sign reliable, experienced cover for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny is equally imperative.

Papastathopoulos certainly fits the bill in that respect and has become a firm favourite of Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp and played 42 times last season, including a pair of appearances against Arsenal in the Champions League.

Wenger clearly liked what he saw and is now hoping to persuade Dortmund that with club captain Mats Hummels going nowhere they can afford to part with a key defender so close to the transfer deadline, but may have to pay a premium to make it happen.

Time not on Arsenal's side

As Wenger found out with his late pursuit of Manolas striking terms for a target this close to deadline day is fraught with complications, but Arsenal desperately need their manage to bite the bullet and strengthen an exciting but flawed squad while the opportunity is still available.

Papastathopoulos is a versatile option and can also play at full-back if required, possessing Champions League and World Cup experience and more than 200 senior appearances in top competitions like the Bundesliga and Serie A.

The 26-year-old only signed for Dortmund last summer and though and is under contract until 2018, which means Arsenal will have to offer the Bundesliga giants the chance to make a huge profit on a player they paid around £8m for just last summer.

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