Saturday, February 4, 2023

Arsenal Eyeing A Move For This La Liga Defender: The Right Choice For The Gunners?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by ElDesmarque, Arsenal are interested in securing the services of Real Betis centre-back Aïssa Mandi. The same report has also revealed that the Algerian centre-back has a €30m (£28m) release clause in his current contract with Betis which is set to run out in the summer of 2021. This might detract the Gunners from paying such a fee for Mandi.

The Chalons-en-Champagne born talent grew up playing football back in France where he came through the youth ranks of Stade Reims before finally establishing himself as a first-team starter back in 2011. Betis decided to bring him to the La Liga in the summer of 2016, and since then, he has been a solid presence at the back for Quique Setién’s team.

Mandi has already put in some commanding performances for the Spanish side this season helping his team climb to the 7th place of the La Liga standings. He has featured in 27 matches for Betis this term and has one assist to his name across all competitions.

The La Liga defensive ace has also earned 42 international caps for the Algerian national side and has one goal to his name for his country.

Mandi is a reliable defender who can make well-timed challenges to win back the ball for his team. He is also good in the air and knows how to organise his defence. However, the Algerian talent is not that accurate with his passes which means that he could struggle to settle into Unai Emery’s system of playing football at North London.

The addition of Mandi will undoubtedly bolster Emery’s defensive options at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners have a poor defensive record in the Premier League after conceding 32 goals in 23 league matches so far in this campaign. Emery has the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos to call upon but none of them have managed to put in a run of consistent performances at the back. 

Hence, Mandi’s acquisition will not only be an upgrade over any of them but will also increase competition for places within the Arsenal squad. Therefore, the North London giants should consider bringing the Algerian international to the Emirates Stadium in the near future as he could be the missing piece in Emery’s defensive jigsaw at the Emirates.

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