The latest word stemming from the Italian media suggests that Shkodran Mustafi is on the verge of departing Arsenal for Serie A outfit Lazio.
Arteta’s defensive options
The situation at the heart of Arsenal’s backline is a somewhat precarious one at present.
This comes with the Gunners, for the first time in some time, having a wealth of quality options at their disposal.
The club’s first two Premier League outings of the campaign have seen summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes and the rejuvenated Rob Holding handed starts.
This pair were accompanied by Kieran Tierney in a 3-man defensive unit in Arsenal’s opener, with the Scot having once again proven himself to be a potential quality centre-half in the making.
Sead Kolasinac replaced Tierney versus West Ham, with the north Londoners having admittedly looked considerably less solid with the Bosnian in from the off.
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – JULY 31: Kieran Tierney of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on July 31, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Kolasinac’s inclusion, though, only came amid something of a defensive injury crisis at the Emirates at present.
Incredibly, all of Pablo Mari, who impressed in limited minutes last season, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are currently sidelined.
David Luiz, much improved since the arrival of Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, was only fit enough to be introduced off the bench versus West Ham.
Finally, youngster William Saliba, widely tipped as a star of the future, is continuing to work towards fully adapting to his new surroundings in north London.
Mustafi set for Italy
As such, evidently, when it comes to the central-defensive situation at Arsenal, something must give.
A number of the Gunners’ stoppers have been linked with departures of late, with Calum Chambers reportedly of interest to Fulham, Rob Holding a target for Newcastle, and Sokratis long tipped to join Napoli.
As outlined above, though, it is yet another of Mikel Arteta’s stoppers who now appears closest to the Emirates exit door.
The individual in question? Shkodran Mustafi.
Speculation hinting at interest in German international Mustafi’s services from Serie A first emerged last week.
Lazio were said to have identified the 28-year-old as a prime target to reinforce the club’s backline, with the capital outfit hopeful of striking a deal for a fee in the region of €10-12 million.
And, amid mounting reports that the Biancocelesti’s interest is very much real, a further update has since been forthcoming.
It is now claimed that Mustafi has reached an agreement with Lazio, over the terms of a contract worth €2.5 million-per-season.
Igli Tare, sporting director at the Stadio Olimpico, is, in turn, preparing an offer for the experienced stopper, amid hope from all parties that a deal can be struck before the close of the transfer window next week.
#calciomercato #lazio: l’entourage di #Mustafi ha definitivamente aperto alla #Lazio. Accordo raggiunto a 2,5 mln annui! #Tare prepara l’affondo con l’#Arsenal e riflette su #Hoedt…sviluppi imminenti https://t.co/IacUVh92L4
— Il Calcio Lo Si Legge (@il_legge) September 27, 2020
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