Why Arsenal should target these 3 Defenders this month
By Rob Worthington
Arsenal’s central defence is unquestionably a position that needs to be addressed this month with the addition of David Luiz proving to be an insufficient upgrade to either Shkodran Mustafi or Laurent Koscienly thus far. With Sokratis also underwhelming, Holding’s fitness problems making his availability inconsistent and Chambers out for the season with a knee injury, an addition in this area is possibly more vital than it appeared a month ago. For me, it is clear that Arsenal need to bring a commanding left-sided central defender into the club who can help to build play from the back and potentially partner William Saliba (a right-sided centre-half) in the future.
In this article, I look at three potential candidates to fill this void, all of whom have been mentioned in the media.
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
A man who is reportedly towards the top of Arsenal’s transfer list is Senegalese international Kalidou Koulibaly. During the centre-back’s time at Napoli, he has established himself as one of the Serie A’s best defenders and is recognised by many as one of the world’s best defenders.
There are a number of aspects to Koulibaly’s game which suggest that he would be well suited to the English game. These include: immense physical strength, respectable pace, impressive ball-playing abilities and undoubted leadership skills. The former Genk man is one of the world’s most in-demand defenders. It’s been reported that Napoli would be willing to release their vice-captain this Summer if an acceptable offer was made to them, however, it has been suggested that the Italian giants want in excess of £70 million for the 28-year-old. Nonetheless, being a French speaker, Koulibaly would be the perfect mentor and initial partner for Saliba and he would certainly have a hugely positive effect on our feeble defence.
Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)
Perhaps a bit of curve-ball, a left field suggestion, but I believe Arsenal should be targeting Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings this month. The imposing Englishman has finally found his feet in the English game after a torrid start to his career which was plagued by injuries. Mings’ move away from Bournemouth seems to have done him the world of good as he has become a key figure in the Aston Villa defence and has also recently been involved in Gareth Southgate’s England squad. The former Ipswich man was crucial for Villa in their promotion campaign and Dean Smith’s decision to convert Mings from a full-back to a centre-back has galvanised his career.
Despite the fact Mings isn’t shy of a rash challenge and has clearly had issues with injuries in the past, at 26, he is in his prime and his reassuring aptitude on the ball, stature and leadership is something that the Arsenal transfer committee cannot overlook. The Englishman’s price is only going to inflate following his impressive to start to life with Villa upon their return to the Premier League, so moving as early as in the remaining weeks of this window could see us secure something of a bargain.
Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
A man whose name has been on the lips of many Arsenal fans over the last few months is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano. It was reported that Arsenal were heavily interested in the Frenchman during the summer transfer window but were deterred by the hefty asking price for the under 21 international. However, it is believed that Upamecano is interested in the move and has thus began to run down his contract, which expires in 2021 and will drive down his asking price.
Upamecano is good on the ball, possess’ excellent recovery pace and a commanding stature, along with the prospect of moving seamlessly into the defence alongside fellow Frenchman William Saliba at the beginning of the 2020/21 season. At the ripe ages of 21 and 18 respectively, Upamecano and Saliba have the potential to be at the heart of Arsenal’s defence for at least a decade.
Upamecano would be my personal favourite having attained rave reviews in Germany; he has the physique and stature to adapt to the Premier League and he would be a statement signing which would indicate the beginning of a revolution under Mikel Arteta.