Inter Milan could look to tempt Arsenal into selling Shkodran Mustafi to them - and sweeten the deal by sending Marcelo Brozovic on a season-long loan to the Gunners.
That is according to supposed Serie A specialist David Amoyal, who told ESPN that Inter are desperate to strengthen their defensive options after they allowed Jeison Murillo to join Valencia on loan.
Amoyal stated that Manchester City outcast Eliaquim Mangala remains their primary defensive target ahead of next Thursday's transfer deadline day, but that has not stopped them from making tentative enquiries about Mustafi by contacting the Germany international's agent.
He said: "After Jeison Murillo's loan to Valencia, the Nerazzurri find themselves very thin at centre-back.
"While Inter's main target is Manchester City's Eliaquim Mangala, they have also contacted Mustafi's agent about a potential return to Serie A.
"Reaching a deal with Arsenal will be difficult, however, since the Gunners are looking to get most of their £35m investment back immediately while Inter would prefer a loan deal with an option to buy.
Inter trying for Mustafi but Arsenal not looking to sell.— wearethenorthbank (@northbanklower) August 23, 2017
"As an alternative, Marcelo Brozovic, who has been linked to Arsenal in the past, could be offered in a deal similar to the one Inter completed with Valencia involving Joao Cancelo and Geoffrey Kondogbia."
Regardless of Inter's interest, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would be mad to allow Mustafi to leave given his lack of central defensive cover at this current time.
Apparently Inter have bid for Mustafi, if he goes what's that leave us with, Holding, Per, Kos, Chambers, we will defo need a new defender— MR DT © (@MrDtAFC) August 23, 2017
The Frenchman only has Mustafi and youngster Rob Holding available as fit natural options at centre-half. Per Mertesacker are Laurent Koscielny are currently unavailable through injury and suspension respectively, while Gabriel Paulista was recently sold to Villarreal to the tune of £10m.
Allowing Mustafi to leave would significantly hamper Wenger's plans to contest for silverware already this term, so it's best to file this particular rumour under 'extremely unliklely to happen'.
Mustafi joined Arsenal for around £35m from Valencia last summer and has accumulated 38 appearances for the north Londoners so far.