With the deal for German International defender Shkodran Mustafi getting stretched as Spanish club Valencia continues to play hardball over the transfer fees, Arsenal have reportedly shifted their focus on Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez. There were also a host of other names in the mix for Arsene Wenger to turn to in case the Mustafi deal fails but now it seems like the Gunners are really getting serious about signing the 21-year-old GIminez, who surprisingly is rated at a much higher price than the ones the club has shortlisted as fallback options.
Gimenez is a center back who plays for Atletico de Madrid under the tutelage of Diego Simeone. The young defender joined the La Liga outfit in 2013 from Uruguayan Primera Division club Danubio in 2013. After making just a single appearance that year, the 21 year old featured 26 times in all competitions in the 2014/15 season where he caught the eye and last season he was featured 38 times in total for the Los Colchoneros, and became a vital member of the team with some brilliant performances when it looked like Atletico will fall short of mounting a serious challenge due to injuries to key players at the back.
Gimenez under Simeone has already developed rapidly his defensive attributes, something for which the manager is renowned for. The Uruguayan is excellent in tackling and blocking but really stands out with his concentration, at his age it is something which makes him different from the rest of the lot. Just as he displayed against PSV in the second leg of the Champions League last year, despite his young age, the defender has enough maturity to boss it when his team requires him to do so desperately.
While the defender can be the perfect choice to provide Arsenal the defensive solidity they need, the biggest stumbling block for the Premier League club to sign the player will be his release clause, which is reported to be £56 m. Taking into consideration all the four criteria Arsene Wenger mentioned previously when he gave us an idea of the factors on which a transfer of a player is sanctioned, the French manager will probably be willing to pay a lesser amount than the release clause for the defender.
However, Atletico are said to be adamant that they will not let go of their prized asset on anything less than his release clause. Quality-wise, there’s no doubt about Gimenez as an option, he might even be a better choice than Mustafi according to some. With the transfer window nearing its end, it would be fascinating to see how this particular story pans out and if it does happen, how much can Arsenal negotiate to get hold of the La Liga winner from the Spanish Capital.
Arka Tarun Mukherjee
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