With the news of Arsenal’s German defender Per Mertesacker suffering a serious knee injury which will rule him out for 5 months, the Gunners now do have a serious problem on their hands and needs to buy a central defender at any cost. Gabriel Paulista is also currently out with tonsillitis and has not travelled with the squad to their pre-season tour of USA. Wenger now has to step up his transfer chase and go for a centre-back as well to avoid the central defender crisis at the start of the season. Here are the three players Arsenal should look to sign.
The French defender has been one of the stars of Napoli last season with his performances and has drawn huge praises from all over. The 26-year old, has been playing for Napoli since 2014 and has been a very consistent performer Gli Azzurri over the two seasons. The defender is excellent in his tackling, in the air and can pass the ball well also.
While his discipline is something he needs to work on, as he received 11 yellow cards in the Serie A last season, paired with someone like Koscielny, Koulibaly would form an excellent partnership and tremendously bolster the Gunners defence. The player has already expressed his desire to leave Naples this summer and English clubs Chelsea and Everton are very interested on him. His price would be on the higher side and it might put off the deal from Arsenal’s perspective.
Stefan De Vrij
A product of the famed Feyenoord academy, this Dutchman is practically the best defender one can get in this transfer window with respect to getting value for money. After impressing with Feyenoord in the Eredivisie the 24 year old moved to Lazio in the Serie A and instantly became one of the most consistent players for the Biancocelesti and guided the team into the finals of the Coppa Italia 2014-15.
De Vrij is a defender who has excellent understanding of the game and rarely makes mistakes. The 6ft 2 in defender has exceptional concentration and is an expert in making interceptions. A bid in the region of £12-£16 m would be enough to secure the signature of the player who missed almost the entire 2015/16 season through a knee injury. De Vrij is the kind of player who can be the perfect partner for Koscielny and I personally would prefer Arsenal going for the Dutch ace whose consistency has been exemplary all through his career.
Mustafi is another interesting prospect who was rejected by Everton in his early days and spent 3 years in England without making a single appearance in the league. The defender however turned things around for him and in spectacular fashion during his time at Sampdoria and later at Valencia. Since 2013/14, Mustafi has been one of the most consistent defenders in club football and was rewarded as a result with a call up to his national team in 2014.
The defender has 12 caps for Germany and impressed in the Euro Cup 2016 by scoring a goal in the opening match against Ukraine. Playing for Valencia, requires a lot of courage and confidence if you are a defender as we have seen how fragile the team is when tries to defend but to perform consistently even for that team as a central defender and rack up an average rating of 7.33 (according to WhoScored.com) is not a mean feat. Mustafi, is excellent in the air and good at intercepting passes and can be a very sensible addition to the Gunners backline. Arsenal can also secure the transfer at a decent price as well within the £15 m range.