Arsenal are ready to conclude their summer transfer business with a £75million spree… even before their new manager has been confirmed.
The Gunners are closing in on central defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Caglar Soyuncu as well as keeper Bernd Leno.
Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat is driving all the deals without needing the approval of Arsene Wenger’s replacement.
Mislintat’s prominent role in the squad rebuilding confirms that the new manager’s role will be confined to coaching the squad and picking the team.
And that makes it even more likely that the new man will be Mikel Arteta rather than a more established boss such as Max Allegri or Luis Enrique.
Mislintat knows all three transfer targets from his time in Germany as Borussia Dortmund’s chief scout.
He actually signed Greek international Papastathopoulos for Dortmund from Werder Bremen in 2013 and believes the powerful centre-half is perfectly suited to the physical demands of the Premier League.
Papastathopolous, 29, is expected to cost around £15m as he only has 12 months to run on his Dortmund contract and has told the club he will not be signing a new deal.
Freiburg centre-half Soyuncu, 21, has also attracted the interest of Manchester City and Roma but it is understood both have been left trailing by Arsenal’s speed off the mark.
The young Turkish international cost his Bundesliga club just £2m when he joined two years but his value has rocketed to around £35m.
Bayer Leverkusen No 1 Leno has been on Arsenal’s radar for months and is keen to complete a £25m move to the Emirates as the club’s long-term replacement for the ageing Petr Cech.
Arsenal are looking to get all three deals wrapped up for the first day of the transfer window on June 1, although any official announcements could be delayed until the new manager has been confirmed.
The moves signal a massive defensive shake-up at the Emirates after losing 18 games and conceding 69 goals during Wenger’s final season as manager.
Wenger claimed that his squad only needs two or three additions this summer to compete for the title next season and admitted: “It’s quite simple to look at what needs to be improved.”
Arsenal’s search for a new centre-half has been given greater urgency by the news captain Laurent Koscielny will be out of action until December after suffering a ruptured Achilles injury.
And they will be ready to listen to offers for Shkodran Mustafi if the deals for Papastathopoulos and Soyuncu are both completed.
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Mustafi has been a major disappointment at the Emirates since his £35m signing from Valencia two years ago and was almost sold last summer.
Now he will be allowed to leave for a knock-down £20m, with young Greek centre-half Konstantinos Mavropanos providing defensive cover after he was signed by talent spotter Mitlinstat in January for a bargain £2m.
Dream Team World Cup has landed
The greatest show on Earth just got that bit more exciting.
That’s because the Dream Team World Cup game is coming ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Dream Team World Cup
- Completely free to enter
- £50m budget and 20 transfers throughout the tournament
- £175k total prizepot (for UK players only)
- PRE-REGISTER FOR DREAM TEAM WORLD CUP NOW
The game officially launches on June 1 – but you can pre-register for the game now.
If you’re an existing Dream Team customer the World Cup game now appears in the app or you can enter here, but if you’re not follow these simple steps:
- Download the Dream Team app
- Create an account
- Click on the World Cup banner below in the app and follow the pre-registration instructions
From Russia with a whole lot of love.