Friday, December 2, 2022

Arsenal Keen On Signing This Olympiacos Defensive Star: Should The Gunners Make A Move?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Sportime, Arsenal have set their sights on Ousseynou Ba. The Premier League giants were reportedly impressed by the performances of the Olympiacos defender and could look to make a move in the upcoming summer transfer window. The report further states that the Arsenal target is valued around €20 million by Olympiacos.

Who is Ousseynou Ba?

Born in Dakar, Ba initially moved to Europe in 2017, when he joined French third-tier club GFC Ajaccio. After spending 18 months playing in Ligue 2, the defender caught the attention of Greek giants Olympiacos, who secured his signing at the start of last year, for a fee of €500k. However, the Senegalese youngster was sent back to GFC Ajaccio in a short-term loan deal.

Ba returned to Olympiacos last summer, ready to make his breakthrough at Olympiacos. And that he did, having made 14 appearances in the Greek Super League so far.

He seems to have benefitted from the summer departure of Dimitrios Nikolaou, having recently become a key component in the Olympiacos backline alongside Ruben Semedo and Pape Abou Cisse, who was, according to him, wanted by previous Arsenal boss Unai Emery last summer.

What can he offer to the table?

Much like his defensive teammate, Ba is known for his towering presence at the back. Standing at 1.92m, the defender’s imposing frame offers him a considerable advantage when it comes to physical and aerial duels. The 24-year-old is also a threat on the opposite end of the pitch, mostly thanks to his height.

Arsenal have set their sights on Ousseynou Ba - The defender impressed against Arsenal earlier this season
PIRAEUS, GREECE – FEBRUARY 20: Ousseynou Ba of Olympiacos FC battles for possession with Joe Willock of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg match between Olympiacos FC and Arsenal FC at Karaiskakis Stadium on February 20, 2020, in Piraeus, Greece. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

However, what makes Ba such a highly rated defender is his quality on the ball. The Senegalese star is blessed with quick feet that allow him to navigate the ball under pressure and evade tight situations. It makes him an excellent outlet when building up from the back.

Arsenal have set their sights on Ousseynou Ba: Is he a viable target for Mikel Arteta?

A perfect combination of technicality and physicality, Ba, no doubt, is equipped with a certain set of traits that could make him an ideal fit under Mikel Arteta. However, it is only fair to consider his lack of experience at the highest level of football.

Even though Ba has impressed in the Europa League this season, his ball-playing qualities might not be sufficient in the fast-paced nature of the Premier League. Also, his whopping €20 million valuation is way too expensive for a player who is yet to prove himself in any of the top five leagues in Europe.

Therefore, it would perhaps be a wiser option for the Gunners to move on and look for other alternatives in the market. Freiburg star Robin Koch, for one, might be a cost-effective option in Arteta’s bid to reinforce the defensive department this summer.

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