It goes without saying that Arsenal need to sign a new defender this month. Whilst the Gunners have been scoring plenty, they’ve been letting far too many in and Unai Emery is well aware of this problem.
In this article I look at 5 realistic defensive signings the club could make this month.
1 – Kostas Manolas
The Greek defender has a release clause of €36million, an amount that is not out of the Gunners price range and also cheap in the current market for a player of his quality. Manchester United have been linked in recent weeks, but his release clause presents a perfect opportunity for Arsenal to address their defensive issues, if of course, the player wants to make the move. Whilst not bad in possession, a concern for Emery though would be that the player is not the best at playing out from the back.
2 – Malang Sarr
Sarr is set to become one of the very best defenders in Europe. Whilst he may not be cheap now, the teenagers price is only heading one way. Aged 19, he is already one of Nice’s most important places, starting consistently. He’s also very good on the ball and known for his ability to play out from the back. Could Patrick Vieira, the current Nice manager, do Arsenal a favour here? I think he’d be a fantastic signing, young, but capable of hitting the ground running due to the amount of first team exposure he has already had.
3 – Daniele Rugani
Rugani is a player Arsenal have been keen on signing for some time, but Juventus have held firm as they appear to view the 24-year-old as heir to some of their more experienced defenders. However the Italian very rarely features in the first team and for someone of his age, he needs to be playing regularly. With just 4 league games to his name this term, Arsenal could possibly tempt the club and player with a bid this month. He’s well suited to Emery’s style of the play, very good on the ball – averaging a 92.4% pass success rate this season.
4 – Mehdi Benatia
Not the ideal solution, but if money is really limited as reports indicate then the Moroccan defender could be an appropriate solution. The 31-year-old would offer a big physical presence to the team as well as adding a good amount of experience. Some reports have suggested Benatia could be part of a deal that sees Aaron Ramsey join Juventus this month. With Koscielny and Sokratis already at the club though, I would prefer to see a younger player arrive.
5 – Diego Godin
With the Spaniard struggling to agree a new contract at Atletico, the Gunners could pounce to sign the experienced Uruguayan defender. He may be 32, but Godin would certainly offer an upgrade on the club’s current defensive options and on a 2 and a half year deal he could be a shrewd signing. Technically the Gunners could sign Godin on a pre-contract agreement now to see him arrive for free in the summer, however Unai Emery will want a defender now and so a small settlement fee could possibly be agreed with Atletico to make the move happen early. It seems Inter Milan may have already won the race for this one, though.