Arsenal set to confirm Shkodran Mustafi's move on Friday

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Arsenal's exhausting search for a centre-back worthy of partnering Laurent Koscielny at the back is, at long last, nearing an end.

A defensive crisis threatened to derail the Gunners' bid to win the Premier League title before the season even started when Per Mertesacker was ruled out for five months.

Gabriel Paulista's untimely injury against Manchester City on Sunday then further compounded Arsenal's woes, with Calum Chambers and Rob Holding their last remaining options.


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Suddenly, two young and relatively inexperienced defenders marshalling the back line against Liverpool on Sunday was a realistic possibility.

Such fears might not materialise, though.

That's because, according to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are expected to announce a deal for Shkodran Mustafi within the next 24 hours (Friday).

This follows on from claims that personal terms had been agreed between the Gunners and their top defensive target, with a transfer fee left to be decided.

Valencia are understandably reluctant to cash in on Mustafi - a World Cup winner with Germany - but it's believed £30 million will be enough.

The report continues to state he might not be ready to face Liverpool, but it's also believed Koscielny could be rushed back to feature.

Nevertheless, in signing the commanding 24-year-old, Arsenal will be adding one of La Liga's highest-rated centre-backs to their depleted ranks.

And he might just hold the key to the Gunners' bid to end their 12-year wait for Premier League glory.

Central defence has long been a problem position at the Emirates Stadium and played a damaging role in the lack of silverware won over the past 10 years.

Indeed, it was shoddy defending that saw Arsenal lose to Birmingham City in the 2011 Carling Cup final and miss out on the Premier League title in previous seasons.

But Wenger can't stop at Mustafi; there are greater issues at hand that also need attending to.

Signing a new striker is the first. Olivier Giroud is a fine goalscorer on his day but inconsistency continues to irk his stay in north London.

A high-quality replacement for Theo Walcott on the flank - *cough* Riyad Mahrez *cough* - is also essential following a season where goals were hard to come when Giroud suffered an inevitable drought in front of goal.

Signing Mustafi is a positive step in the right direction and should inspire Wenger to keep improving his squad.

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