As reported by Express, ESPN FC pundit Steve Nicol has backed Arsenal to make a move for Juventus outcast Daniele Rugani. The former Scottish footballer is firm that the Italian centre-back could solve Arsenal’s defensive problems despite his own struggles in Turin.
“He[Rugani] probably is [better than what Arsenal have], but he’s 24, and he hasn’t had a lot of football in the last couple of seasons. They’re in a position where they have to gamble. They can’t afford to go out and sign a recognised centre-back and spend a lot of money on them. I guess, at the end of the day, Rugani is a gamble. But it’s a good gamble. He’s going to be a hit [if he joins Arsenal].”, Nicol told ESPN FC.
Rugani’s lack of game-time at Juventus
Rugani has been an unfortunate victim of Juventus’ perpetual reliance on ripe old centre-backs. Indeed, the 24-year-old, despite being rated as one of Italy’s most promising defenders, has struggled to get the nod ahead of the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci under Massimiliano Allegri.
Even though the defensive duo of Chiellini and Bonucci is nearing the end of their careers, newly appointed Maurizio Sarri has shown faith in the market, it seems. The former Chelsea boss has already brought in Matthijs de Ligt while opting to keep hold of the services of Merih Demiral.
Therefore, it’s unlikely Rugani will receive much recognition in the coming season. That means a move away from Turin will be the most logical choice if he wants to continue his development.
Arsenal could be an ideal destination
Following his struggles at Juventus, Rugani will be looking for regular game-time, and Arsenal can surely provide that. The Gunners are facing a crisis in the defensive department, with club captain Laurent Koscielny notably refusing to train with the team earlier this summer. The Frenchman is nearing an exit from the Emirates, it seems.
Moreover, the young defensive duo of Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavrapanos have both struggled with injuries. As for Shkodran Mustafi, he is unlikely to play a prominent role following a dreadful campaign last season.
Although Arsenal have secured the services of William Saliba this month, the French whizkid has been sent back to St. Etienne on a season-long loan deal. Hence, the Spaniard will be in imminent need of a quality defender, who can be partnered with Sokratis or Holding in central defence in the upcoming season.
And this makes Arsenal an attractive destination for Rugani. The North London giants, aside from offering regular game time, will present him the opportunity of showcasing his talents in what is considered the most competitive league in the world.