The future of Jonny Evans is being strongly linked to Arsenal who are looking to sign a centre-half before the end of the January transfer window. The Northern Ireland international has been the best defensive element in the West Brom lineup despite the side falling to the relegation spot in the current campaign.
Evans has quite deservedly drawn high praise from fans and pundits for his impressive stint with the Baggies over the past two and a half seasons. We could only witness the best out Jonny Evans when Alex Ferguson was at the helm at Manchester United. The retired Scotsman fielded Evans in the centre back role ahead of a lot of talented options and have won three league titles with him in the backline.
However, with his valuation rising to £20m, fans at Emirates might have to wonder – Is he really worth it? In the current market where players are getting traded at astronomical rates, one might think the price is justified for a seasoned veteran. But Arsenal’s squad is already stacked with experienced players in the defensive backline in the form of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi.
With a hefty £20m, Arsene Wenger can consider a few other options who have displayed traits that he specifically looks for.
Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, Aden Flint oozes class for the Bristol City backline. It is baffling to see how the 28-year-old still plies his trade in the EFL Championship. His incredible performance against Manchester City in the semi-final first leg of the EFL League Cup earned him the man of the match award. He scored 15 goals in Bristol City’s promotion season from League One and has found the net twice as many times this season as any other centre-back in the Championship.
Reared in the Red Bull football family – first at Liefering, then RB Salzburg – the French teenager has impressed in the Bundesliga. His frame fits the robust demands of the Premier League, but his reading of the game and anticipation in a high defensive line is exceptional for a player of his age. No wonder the 19-year-old has already drawn the eyes of Pep Guardiola who is closely monitoring his progress from RB Leipzig.
The supposed replacement for Ashley Williams in the Swansea City lineup has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor quite well. Mawson arrived at the Welsh club in the summer of 2016 and as a young centre-back he displayed great composure and leadership qualities for the Swans and was crucial in the clubs 12th place finish last season. Pardew can use him well in his side in the place of Evans in case the influential centre-back makes a move out of the Hawthorns in the near future.