LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 18- Arsenal have opened negotiations with Atletico Madrid over centre-back Jose Gimenez as Arsene Wenger steps up his pursuit of defensive reinforcements.
Arsenal are without captain Per Mertesacker and Brazilian defender Gabriel through injury while Laurent Koscielny is still recovering full match fitness after his European Championship exertions with France this summer.
It left Wenger with youngsters Calum Chambers and Rob Holding in defence as Arsenal slumped to a 4-3 opening-day loss to Liverpool.
Gimenez, 21, is a fast and physical Uruguayan centre half who played 37 matches under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid last season. Manchester United and Real Madrid have previously scouted the young defender, who has a release clause of Sh7.5bn.
Sportsmail understands that as of Wednesday afternoon, Arsenal are continuing talks with Atletico Madrid, who are demanding a fee in the region of Sh5.3bn.
Gimenez is believed to be open to a move to London and the Premier League but the Gunners are baulking at Atletico’s current valuation.
Arsenal, however, also remain locked in discussions with Valencia over German Shkodran Mustafi as they attempt to secure a new defender as soon as possible.
However, neither Spanish club are in a rush to strike a deal and will haggle to secure the highest price as both clubs know that Arsenal require reinforcements.
They know that Arsenal face a tricky fixture at Leicester on Saturday, which may only lead to the price demands being raised once more.
Valencia want Sh4bn for Mustafi but Arsenal believe that demand is overpriced. Jonny Evans of West Brom remains on Arsenal’s radar should the deals with the Spanish clubs fail to materialise.
-By Daily Mail-