Arsenal are set to make a surprise £20m bid for West Bromwich Albion centre back Jonny Evans, 28, if talks with Valencia over Mustafi Shkodran, 24, break down. Despite having a €50m release clause, the Spanish club are willing to sell at half of that due to their parlous financial state.
The German international is the Gunners prime target following surgery which leaves Per Mertesacker, 31, on the sidelines until January 2017 at the earliest.
It leaves them with the inexperienced Calum Chambers, 21, and Rob Holding, 20, to partner Laurent Koscielny, 30 in the centre of defence.
Evans, signed by Albion in 2015 in a deal believed to be worth £15m, has over 200 Premier League appearances to his name and unlike other targets, will need no time to adapt to the English game.
Formerly with Manchester United, the Northern Irishman would be the second former Red Devils defender to move to Arsenal in the past decade, following Mikael Silvestre’s footsteps. The Frenchman endured a torrid time at the Emirates with Wenger severely criticised for his signature by the club’s supporters and shareholders.
Under-rated Evans was a key member of the Northern Ireland squad which reached the knockout phase of Euro 2016 where they fell to Wales in a 0 – 1 defeat.
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