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Arsenal in talks to sign 23-year-old to strengthen the central defence: report

Arsenal are understood to have opened negotiations with Shakhtar Donetsk over a possible deal for defender Mykola Matviyenko before the end of the month.

The Gunners have made no signings during the ongoing transfer window and manager Mikel Arteta has recently stated that he won’t be unhappy, should the club fail to recruit any player before the deadline.

In a report covered by Football.London, it is revealed that the Gunners are making the effort to sign a new centre-back and they have made contact with Shakhtar for the services of Matviyenko.

The same outlet has picked up a recent interview from the player’s representative Yuriy Danchenko, who has confirmed that the Gunners’ hierarchy are looking to seal a transfer agreement for his client from Shakhtar.

“My colleagues and I have been constantly in contact with representatives of the Arsenal, and have meetings. The Gunners’ hierarchy have already contacted [Shakhtar], and we hope that these negotiations will succeed,” he told Ukrainian media as relayed by Football.London.

Arteta would have had a close watch on Matviyenko when he was the assistant at Manchester City, given the Cityzens and Shakhtar have faced each other in Europe on a staggering six occasions over the past three years.

As such, it is no surprise that the Cityzens have also been credited with an interest in the Ukraine international but the Gunners seem to be leading the race to sign the 23-year-old, who is also comfortable playing in both full-back positions.

Arsenal currently have four central defensive options at their disposal for the season. Sokratis and David Luiz have been the regular picks under Arteta with Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding regarded as the back-up options behind them.

While that appears sufficient for the campaign, there are concerns over the performances of Holding and Mustafi. Holding has yet to recapture the form displayed prior to the long-term knee injury setback. Mustafi, on the other hand, has developed the tendency to make costly defensive errors, which have not gone well with few of the supporters.

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