According to the Metro, Arsenal only opted to sign Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi as they weren’t willing to meet the asking price for Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Omer Toprak. The highly-rated Bundesliga defender is reportedly available for £40M, but the Gunners instead have opted for a player £5M less in Mustafi after agreeing personal terms.
At one point this summer, it did look like Toprak would the defender coming in as the Mustafi deal stalled over a transfer fee, but now the German international has all but signed ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash. Toprak is three years Mustafi’s senior, but has developed into a top central defender with Leverkusen over the years.
Arsenal have been desperate to strengthen their backline after an injury crisis saw them starting the new season without Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista. But manager Arsene Wenger hasn’t wanted to panic buy and sign a player purely to as a stop-gap. The French coach has targeted players who will last at the Emirates, and the extra money for an older defender in Toprak perhaps didn’t appeal to him.
Nevertheless, Mustafi is a good defender and has many more years ahead of him compared to the Turkish international, which has given Arsenal value for such an outlay by comparison.