Arsenal’s whirlwind hunt for a center back continued today as they were linked to another center back, Atletico Madrid’s 21-year old Jose Gimenez.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal have started negotiating with the Champions League runners up for their prized Uruguayan center back. However, with a £40 million price tag slapped on his head, it’s unlikely talks will progress much further, unless that price is decreased.
Gimenez is now the third center back to be linked with the Gunners over the past two days. Bayer Leverkusen’s Turkish center back, Ömer Toprak, and Fenerbahçe’s Danish center back, Simon Kjaer, have all been linked, as well. All three transfer rumors have transpired after it was reported that Valencia and Arsenal are still haggling over a deal for Shkodran Mustafi, despite the German’s intent on moving to London.
Today, Valencia chief Garcia Pitrarch added further confusion to the negotiations when he admitted Valencia have to sell if they want to meet Financial Fair Play guidelines.
“We’re above the FFP guidelines, that’s the reality, and as of today, the four players we’ve signed cannot be registered, meaning we need to reduce the cost in a significant manner to register the players and sign a center-back, which is a priority in case one of the ones at our club leaves.”
The center back Pitrarch is referring to is most likely Mustafi, and when you take in to account the 24-year old German has been training on his own, it appears Valencia are ready to sell.
More notably, Pitrarch’s comments put Valencia in an unfavorable negotiating position. Frankly it’s no wonder that Arsenal are holding out for less money.
Safe with the knowledge that Valencia must sell, Arsenal are now posturing by letting the Spanish club know they’re prepared to move on to their other targets. It’s no coincidence that three center backs have been linked to the Gunners less than 48 hours after their negotiating stance with Valencia became public.
While this strategy makes sense to a degree, the London club should remain cautious with how far they are prepared to go. Eventually they’ll have to up their offer and meet Valencia somewhere in the middle.
Arsenal are in dire need of a center back, and Mustafi’s quality and experience, both difficult to find for the price being touted, makes him the ideal acquisition.
With the end of the transfer window fast approaching, a resolution must be come to quickly. The longer Arsenal waits, the more matches they play with a vulnerable back four.