Although it looks highly unlikely that Arsene Wenger is going to bring in players this winter, there are few glaring gaps in the Gunners squad that could leave them with some real concern as the season progresses.
Among them, the most prominent once has been the lack of a solid backup right back, which is highly understaffed by Mathieu Debuchy’s repetitive injuries and Carl Jenkinson’s surprising loss of confidence. And reports have stated, Arsenal are lining up a £20 million bid for FC Porto’s versatile defender Ricardo Pereira.
According to The Daily Star, Arsene Wenger is eyeing to bring the 23-year-old Portuguese international as a competition for Arsenal ace Hector Bellerin. After Bellerin’s poor display against Bournemouth, which saw the defender letting in two goals from his half, rumours are doing the rounds that he has taken his position lightly as there’s no one to compete for that place.
A versatile player that he is, Pereira is capable of playing on the left flank. After struggling to impress at Porto he has been sent out on loan to Nice for the past two seasons and he has been phenomenal there, as Nice sit two points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
In his 15 appearances, so far, Pereira has scored once and assisted thrice. He has won 37 tackles this season with a success rate of 50%. He has made 25 interceptions, 60 clearances, and one block. He has played in the right back position, defensive right back position, left back and even as a defensive midfielder so far and has proved to be a tremendous utility player for Lucien Favre, the manager.
Pereira came through the ranks of Sporting Lisbon, Naval 1º de Maio U19, and Vitória Guimarães SC U19, before he joined FC Porto’s B team and then moving on loan to Nice. He is very strong in dribbling past his opponents and providing incisive passes into the penalty box. His knack for perfectly timed tackles pretty much makes him an all-round full-back.
Although at 175cm, he is quite challenged on the air, but that doesn’t stop him from excelling aerial duels. His ability to hold on to the ball further makes a reliable outlet.
Mathieu Debuchy is expected to leave the club in the January transfer window and Kieran Gibbs’ current deal expires in the summer of 2018 as no negotiations over a new contract have taken place yet. Arsenal are currently fifth in the Premier League table with just eight points behind league leaders Chelsea and there is fierce competition in the top half at the moment. An addition like Pereira will definitely help the Gunners, who have a long season to go and are visiting Bayern Munich next month.