Abu Dhabi


New York

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 01:46 GMT

Arsenal Mull Summer Defensive Targets


Ahmed Ahmed

Thu, 28 Mar 2019 13:18 GMT

There are not many things which unite Arsenal fans but one point that they all seem to agree on is that the main problem for the Gunners over the past couple of seasons is their defence.

Arsenal conceded 51 Premier League goals last season, their highest total in the Premier League era.

30-year-old centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos was signed from Borussia Dortmund in the summer to address the problems. But despite slight improvements, defence remains an issue for the north London side, as the stats show: they have conceded 39 goals in the league so far this season, with eight games yet to be played.

The team appear to be lacking pace and athleticism in their defensive line. And it’s not hard to tell there is a problem when 33-year-old Laurent Koscielny has looked the most athletic of the centre-backs. Arsenal Manger Unai Emery may need more than one signing to fix his side’s problems at the back.

Here we look at possible summer transfer targets for improving his side’s back four.

Nathan Ake

The former Chelsea youth player has been a stalwart since joining Bournemouth in 2017 after spending a loan spell at the club the previous year. He is one of the first names on the team sheet and is a big part of why the Cherries have been a mid-table team for the last couple of seasons rather than fighting regulation. He is known for his pace, energy and tenacious tackling, something Arsenal have been missing in their back line for the last few years.

Milan Skriniar

The Slovakian international is thought to be wanted by many clubs this summer. He is known for his no-nonsense defending and has been compared to fellow Slovakian centre-back Martin Skrtel and former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic. He has been a powerhouse for Inter Milan since joining from Sampdoria in 2017. Unai Emery will be facing a lot of competition if he wants to sign the 24-year-old in the summer.

Dayot Upamecano

The 20-year-old RB Leipzig star is a prodigious talent and known for his pace and his recovering capabilities. The Frenchman will provide highly needed athleticism and youthful energy to the Arsenal back line. Despite suffering from injury problems in the past, the youngster is one of the highest-rated under-21 players in Europe.

Kurt Zouma

Zouma was prodigious talent at a young age which led to him being signed by Chelsea in January 2014. However, his development was interrupted after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a match against Manchester United in February 2016, which resulted in a nine month spell on the side-lines. Since returning he has rebuilt his career with loan spells at Stoke last season and has spent this year at Everton. Despite not looking completely back to his best, his speed and strength is something which will certainly help the Arsenal defence.

Ibrahima Konate

The teenager has been a revelation for RB Leipzig this season. Fast-tracked into first-team action after the absence of the injured Upamecano the six foot four 19-year-old has a great understanding of the game despite his age. He is able to read play well and has pace for recoveries along with being strong in the air. He has the ability to play the ball out from the back which is something Emery likes. The Frenchman looks tailor-made for the Premier League.

Vincent Kompany

Kompany will probably be the most surprising inclusion to the list. After Man City Manager Pep Guardiola announced in January that the Belgium International, whose contract runs out on June 30th, will not be offered a new deal it means the Manchester City captain will be available for free in the summer. The 32-year old who was recently voted best foreign defender in Premier League history has won three titles along with a host of other accolades during his time in England, but he has spent a large part of the past five years injured. A new challenge with a new club could re-energise the Belgian’s career. And judging by the fact that they will not have to pay a penny for him, it may be a gamble worth taking for the Gunners.