Arsenal stepping up their pursuit of 28-year-old South American defender

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Arsenal are stepping up their pursuit of Argentina and Gremio defender Walter Kannemann as Unai Emery plans to strengthen their defensive end ahead of the next season.

The North London club are hoping to offload German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi to AC Milan, however, will only have transfer budget around £40million for new players if they fail to claim the Europa League trophy and secure place in the Champions League football next season.

That means they will have to get creative in the transfer market, and that has led them to turn their attention to Kannemann, who has impressed in recent campaigns and earned a spot in the national team.

Now FOX Sports Argentina report that the Gunners are ‘intensifying’ their interest in a 28-year-old centre-back and are willing to offer him around £11.5m to secure his services.

Kannemann has a release clause around £17m, which Gremio will hold out for, however, the North London club will try to get him for slightly under that valuation as they try and stretch their transfer budget.

The centre-back has won the Copa Libertadores with both Gremio and San Lorenzo though did not make his international debut until September.

The 28-year-old defender has collected five caps in total and was part of the 40-man team selected for this summer’s Copa America team.

In addition to a new defender, Unai Emery is known to want a new box-to-box midfielder in order to fill the gap that would be left after the departure of Aaron Ramsey – who will join Serie A champions Juventus on a free transfer – as well as a forward and full-back.

Stephan Lichtsteiner, Danny Welbeck and Petr Cech will all depart from the team when their contracts ends, while the Gunner are open to offers for Mohamed Elneny, Mesut Ozil, Mustafi, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.