Unai Emery wants to sign African defender as a replacement for Shkodran Mustafi

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Arsenal coach Unai Emery has pinpointed Ivory Coast versatile defender Jean-Philippe Gbamin as a top Gunners transfer target ahead of the summer transfer window, according to reports.

The Gunners’ defensive struggles this campaign have been well documented, with the north London side conceding more goals than any other side in the top-eight of the Premier League.

£35 million signing Shkodran Mustafi has struggled while a host of the club’s central defenders and full-backs have been absent for long periods through injury.

Unai wanted Arsenal to bolster his defensive variants in January but Barcelona star Denis Suarez was the only arrival at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners manager will sign a defender on a permanent deal next transfer market, however, and hopes to secure a deal with Mainz for Gbamin, according to the Daily Express.

The 23-year-old star has attracted attention from a host of Premier League clubs and is rated at £40million by Bundesliga side Mainz.

That sum could pose a problem for the Gunners, who are said to be willing to give Unai just £45m to spend in the summer transfer market.

But Mainz’s valuation may dip if Jean-Philippe forces a move, with the Ivorian star already admitting he would be keen on a summer move.

After last weekend’s defeat to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the Gunners returned to winning ways on Saturday with a 2-1 win against Huddersfield Town.

Unai admitted it would be ‘difficult’ for his side to finish in the top four, with Manchester United and Chelsea currently above them in the table.