Serbian centre-back Nikola Maksimovic has caught the eye of Arsenal according to reports. The 25-year-old centre-back, who plays for Napoli, is being considered a viable option for the Gunners. Maksimovic signed for Napoli this season for a fee of £18m, after impressing during his season-long loan spell last year. If reports are to be believed, Napoli will hold out for an amount of £22m for the Serbian.
Maksimovic, who first came into the limelight after his impressive season at Red Star Belgrade, was snapped up by Torino. Although it was initially a loan deal, Maksimovic’s performances at centre back made him a regular starter at the club. It came as no surprise when Torino exercised their power next year to buy the player for a fee of £2.25m.
After moving to Torino, Maksimovic kept hold of his starting spot for the season and by 2016, he had made 76 appearances for the club.
In the summer of 2016, Maksimovic was loaned out to fellow Italian side Napoli. His performance impressed the Naples-based club and a permanent move was sanctioned the following season.
A tall, burly centre-back Maksimovic was compared to Nemanja Vidic back in his hometown in his early days. He is comfortable on the ball and is able to play as a makeshift holding midfielder as well, which makes him an ideal target for the Gunners. He is strong in the air and standing at 1.93m, he can add some much needed steel to any defensive backline.
The Gunners have recently shifted to a back-3 formation which means that they are definitely short on cover in that position. Currently, Arsenal have Shkodran Mustafi , Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Per Mertesacker vying for 3 centre-back positions.
With Chambers having failed to impress so far, and Mustafi and Koscielny suffering frequent injuries so far this season, Arsenal will want to bring in reinforcements, who can act as backups.
Maksimovic can easily fit into the 3-man back line and if need be, play as a makeshift holding midfielder. Although with the cover Arsenal has at the centre of the park, they really will not need him to move up from his natural centre back position.
As for Maksimovic, the move may well present an opportunity to play in the world’s most followed league and after four years at Italy, the Serbian might want to consider the opportunity of a fresh challenge. If he is ready to sacrifice on regular game time, Maksimovic might just be the defensive signing the Gunners will need, to have enough quality cover in defence.