Arsenal have suffered a setback in their transfer objectives with Lazio opting for Southampton star Wesley Hoedt over Shkodran Mustafi. The Gunners have been desperate to sign Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar this summer before the window shuts.
Mikel Arteta must sell players before he can bring more in and offloading a defender has become pivotal.
After the arrivals of Pablo Mari, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, the Gunners are overloaded with defenders.
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Mustafi has been relegated to surplus to requirements and the club are trying to sell him to recoup some funds.
Lazio had become a particularly interested party as they hunted a new defender in the transfer market.
They had been linked with a bargain £11m deal for the German even though Arsenal had initially wanted £13.7m.
But the north London outfit have suffered a blow with Lazio preparing to abandon their signing of Mustafi.
Instead, they will focus their efforts on Southampton star Hoedt, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.
The duo are eyed as the perfect blend of creativity and steel that has been lacking at Arsenal in recent years.
Under Arteta, the Gunners have taken a upturn in form – landing the FA Cup and the Community Shield.
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They have started the season with two wins out of two after victories over Fulham and West Ham.
However, Arteta faces a sterner test tonight when the Gunners take on Leicester in the Carabao Cup.
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