Arsenal

Arsenal line up transfer of Per Mertesacker and Gary Cahill

Arsenal are closing in on a deal for Werder Bremen defender Per Mertesacker as the Gunners attempt to shore up their defensive line after one of the heaviest defeat’s in their history.

Their 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United on Sunday was the worst result under boss Arsene Wenger by some way, and while the Frenchman has been in the market to bolster his defensive options throughout the summer, the defeat at Old Trafford bought the Gunners problems at the back into sharp focus.

Talks with the 26-year-old are said to be at an advanced stage and the deal should be finalised by the end of the current transfer window, although there is some doubt surrounding the move after Mertesacker revealed last week that he would like to remain with Bremen for the foreseeable future.

Media reports suggest the Bremen captain will fly into London today to undergo a medical and finalise personal terms.

Attention appears to have switched to the German international after a £6 million bid for Bolton’s Gary Cahill, labelled “derisory” by Trotters boss Owen Coyle, was turned down, while interest in Everton’s Phil Jagielka failed to materialise into a firm offer.

Arsenal’s defensive crisis took a turn for the worse before the game against Manchester United when Thomas Vermaelen was ruled out through injury, and with young summer signing Carl Jenkinson banned following his red card at Old Trafford.The Gunners also appear close to finalising a deal for another defender, Fenerbahce’s Andre Santos for a fee believed to be around £6.2 million.

The Brazilian full-back has agreed terms on a four year deal to move to the Emirates, and will act as a replacement for Gael Clichy, who completed a £7 million move to Manchester City earlier in the summer. With Kieran Gibbs injured and Bacary Sagna, who had been playing out of position at left back also sidelined, Santos should be in line for his debut against Swansea in 11 days’ time.

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