Unai Emery has identified Ivory Coast defender Jean-Philippe Gbamin as a top Arsenal transfer target ahead of the summer, according to reports.
Arsenal’s defensive struggles this season have been well documented, with the Gunners conceding more goals than any other team in the top-eight of the Premier League.
£35m signing Shkodran Mustafi has struggled while a number of the club’s defenders have been absent for long periods through injury.
Emery wanted Arsenal to bolster his defensive options in January but Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez was the only arrival at the Emirates.
The Gunners boss will sign a defender on a permanent deal this summer, however, and hopes to strike a deal with Mainz for Gbamin, according to the Daily Express.
Gbamin, 23, has attracted attention from a number of Premier League clubs and is valued at £40million by Bundesliga outfit Mainz.
That fee could pose a problem for Arsenal, who are said to be willing to give Emery just £45m to spend during the summer transfer window.
But Mainz’s valuation may dip if Gbamin forces a move, with the Ivory Coast international already admitting he would be interested in a summer switch.
‘I basically feel ready for the next step and can well imagine starting a new chapter,’ he said recently.
‘Through my achievements, I have made clubs aware of me, where I see a good chance to go to this next stage in my sporting and personal development.
‘At the moment I give 100 per cent for Mainz and I am very satisfied with how much we have improved. ‘What will happen after the season, we have to wait and see.’