Arsenal move on to Bayern defender as Xhaka nears arrival

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With images leaked over the weekend seemingly confirming that Granit Xhaka is about to become Arsene Wenger’s first signing of the summer, the Gunners are quickly moving on to target number two, and that man is Bayern Munich’s Medhi Benatia.

The press are reporting this week that the 29-year-old is keen on a move away from the Allianz Arena, after a disrupted two years.

The central defender has found chances limited at the Bundesliga champions, making just 14 league appearances this term, down from 15 in his first season with the club after arriving from Roma in 2014.

With Per Mertesacker turning 32 this September, and Gabriel still yet to consistently convince, a move for a highly-regarded centre-half looks a wise one from Wenger.

Valued at £13.5m by transfermarkt.co.uk, and with Mats Hummels adding more competition to the Bayern back-line following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal wouldn’t need to break the bank to land the Moroccan.

Manchester United and Chelsea have also been linked with the defender, but it’s believed Arsenal are the most keen of the trio.

The only significant concern – and one the Gunners will surely study extensively should negotiations get serious – is Benatia’s injury record.

The former Udinese man has missed the best part of 14 league games this season and given Arsenal’s fitness concerns over the last few years, Gooners could be forgiven for being somewhat suspect.

33 appearances with Roma in 2013-14, however, suggests Benatia’s troubles this year may be only short-term, and if fully fit, there’s little doubt would add welcome depth to Arsenal’s defence.

But one thing is much clearer, and that is Arsenal are fully determined to fill the gaps where they were so exposed last season.

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