ARSENAL boss Unai Emery is plotting a £25million move for Croatian defender Domagoj Vida.
But the deal will only happen if the Gunners can flog Shkodran Mustafi or Danny Welbeck in the next few days.
New boss Emery is not impressed with the defence he has inherited from Arsene Wenger at the Emirates.
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And he has identified the pony-tailed Vida as the man to bring some steel to his leaky back four.
Arsenal already have SIX central defenders on their books, including injured skipper Laurent Koscielny and £16million newcomer Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
But he is not convinced by Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding and does not believe rookie Konstantinos Mavropanos is ready for regular Premier League football.
Vida, 29, starred for Croatia as they shone at the World Cup before losing 4-2 to France in the final and is keen to test himself in England.
He only joined Besiktas from Dynamo Kiev for £8million in January and the Turkish club have rejected a £13.5m bid by Liverpool this summer.
But Besiktas chairman Fikret Orman is ready to sell at the right price and is expecting an offer from Premier League newcomers Wolves.
Arsenal’s problem is that they have no more money available for new signings after spending £70m this summer.
That was on top of the club-record £60million they spent on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January.
So Emirates chiefs are now desperately scratching around to find buyers for some of the squad players who do not feature in Emery’s long-term plans.
But so far they have only managed to raise pocket change from the sales of fringe men Chuba Akpom and Jeff Reine-Adelaide.
And they now have just five days to offload the likes of Mustafi, Welbeck, Lucas Perez and David Ospina to stand any chance of landing Vida before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Turkish giants Galatasaray have shown an interest in German international Mustafi, who has been a major disappointment since his £34.85m arrival from Seville two years ago.
But they are not interested in meeting Arsenal’s £22million valuation — and are only looking to sign the centre-back on loan.
England international Welbeck, now in the final year of his Arsenal contract, is another potential source of revenue.
But the £20million-rated striker only returns to pre-season training on Monday and has not attracted any offers so far.
Emery has maintained that he is happy with Arsenal’s summer transfer business but has left the door open to one more signing.
The Gunners play their final pre-season game against Lazio in Stockholm this evening.
And Emery will be looking for a far more convincing performance from his defenders than they have managed so far this summer.
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