Arsenal are believed to be plotting a January swoop for RCD Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso, as the club's defensive injury crisis threatens to derail their impressive start to the season.
The Gunners have got their Premier League campaign off to a fine start under their new manager Unai Emery, with the former Paris Saint-Germain boss boldly leading his side into the post-Wenger era with aplomb. However injuries to defenders Rob Holding, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Nacho Monreal have left Arsenal on the verge of an injury nightmare ahead of the festive fixtures.
According to the Sun, Emery will look to sign Hermoso in January, due to his relatively affordable release clause. The 23-year-old's stellar performances for his club side earned him a call-up for the Spain senior team last month, when he kept a clean sheet in the side's 1-0 friendly win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Interestingly, the report suggest that the Gunners will sell their mercurial playmaker Mesut Özil to fund the sale. Given that the former Germany international has recently signed a new £350k-per-week deal with the club, this does seem unlikely. However, Emery still appears reluctant to utilise the player, and could perhaps offload him to free up some transfer funds.
With the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool spending vast sums of money on new players in recent times, Arsenal have been unable to compete in the transfer market. Hermoso could represent a fine value for money deal, and prove a shrewd investment, given the player's clear potential for ongoing improvement.
Meanwhile, Emery has warned his players over their conduct following Saturday's 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town, after three of them were booked for diving. Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Matteo Guendouzi were all cautioned by the referee for simulation, as the side desperately look to find the winning goal.