LONDON — Arsenal are in advanced talks with Werder Bremen’s German international football defender Per Mertesacker.
The 26-year-old centre-back is captain for the Bundesliga side and reports suggested last week that he wanted to stay at the club.
Arsenal’s pursuit of Mertesacker, who is 6ft 6in and has 75 caps for Germany, could end their interest in Bolton defender Gary Cahill.
Arsene Wenger has already completed a £6,2m deal for Brazil left-back Andre dos Santos as he belatedly bids to plug the holes in a leaky Arsenal defence.
The move by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to bolster his defence comes after they were hammered 8-2 by Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.
They have also recently sold left-back Gael Clichy to Manchester City, and right-back Emmanuel Eboue to Turkish club Galatasary.
Centre-back Thomas Vermaelen was injured for the trip to Old Trafford and missed most of last season with an Achilles tendon injury.
Mertesacker was part of the German team which beat England 4-1 at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa last summer.
And he has been recalled to the squad to face Austria in their European Championship qualifier on Friday after a heel injury suffered at the end of last season.