Arsenal step up chase for Mustafi as Gabriel is ruled out

Rob Conlon
Shkodran Mustafi: Defender also linked with Chelsea

Arsenal will step up their pursuit for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi after Gabriel Paulista was ruled out for up to two months.

Arsene Wenger’s defensive options are threadbare for the opening stages of the season, with Per Mertesacker set to miss around five months and Laurent Koscielny given an extended break after reaching the final of Euro 2016 with France.

Brazil international Gabriel was in line to start as the senior centre-back in the season opener against Liverpool, alongside either Calum Chambers or new signing Rob Holding.

However, the defender injured his ankle in the friendly victory over Manchester City last week and is expected to be out for between six to eight weeks.

The blow is understood to have forced Wenger to try push through a move for Germany international Mustafi.

Chelsea have also been linked with the 24-year-old, who could cost up to £30million.