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Arsenal have identified Real Betis star Aissa Mandi as the answer to their defensive problems – though they will have to wait until the summer to secure a deal. The Gunners are in the middle of an injury crisis at the back, with Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding both suffering desperately unlucky, season-ending injuries while Laurent Koscielny is still returning to full match sharpness after a long lay-off. Unai Emery admitted on Wednesday that his side ‘needed some players at centre-back’ and he appears to have found one that fits the bill in La Liga.
According to ElDesmarque, Arsenal are interested in signing versatile Betis defender Mandi with Emery a big fan of the Algerian. However, Betis have made it clear that any club who wants to sign him in the January window will need to pay up his full €30million (£26m) buy-out clause.
That is a problem for Arsenal, who cannot make any January signings and are restricted to loan deals, but they could try and negotiate his price tag down in the summer. West Ham reportedly offered £12m for Mandi last summer, which was rejected, and Betis are confident they can hang onto the 27-year-old for the next six months and will try to tie him down to a new contract that raises his release clause.