Much like every other transfer saga involving Arsenal, their pursuit of Valencia's Shkodran Mustafi is becoming rather exhausting.
Rumours first emerged in late-July when it was confirmed Per Mertesacker had been ruled out for four to five months.
Arsenal's situation was then worsened still when Gabriel Paulista suffered an ankle injury against Manchester City in their final game of pre-season.
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At this point, it seemed inevitable Arsene Wenger would bring in a new centre-back.
However, nine days remain of the summer transfer window yet the Frenchman still hasn't pushed through a deal for Germany international Mustafi, with Valencia's asking price said to be an issue.
In the aftermath of his side's goalless draw with Leicester City on Saturday, Wenger was asked for an update on a potential move and he duly responded.
He told French TV station SFR Sport, per Sky Sports: "Mustafi? We hope it will be done.
"He is one of a number of players we are looking at. Negotiations are ongoing."
A tone of uncertainty is evident in Wenger's words but Arsenal fans will seek positivity from the fact that talks are ongoing and he is still very much interested in signing Mustafi.
But there's a problem - and a big one at that.
According to the Mirror, Valencia want an eye-watering £50 million for their World Cup winner, contradicting previous reports that £25 million would be enough.
Wenger will undoubtedly baulk at Mustafi's new price tag but for Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, the 66-year-old should have signed a new centre-back a long time ago.
More specifically, the former Arsenal striker believes Wenger missed a trick by not targeting Manchester United's Eric Bailly.
He said: "The Manchester United centre-half looks like a centre-half. You look at Eliaquim Mangala last year and you thought '£30m, that was a bit strong!'
"But I just look at the United lad (Bailly) and I think 'why haven't Arsenal gone for him?'
"Wenger went to that club and inherited one of the best back fours of all-time. I’ll give him Laurent Koscielny and the other was Sol Campbell who was a no-brainer.
"Since then you can reel off 20 centre-halves who don’t even make up one player."
Fail to sign Mustafi and Wenger faces backlash like no other.
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