As the summer window draws closer, certain players across Europe are being targeted fervently by clubs in the Premier League. This season, every PL club will have evaluated how far off they are to league leaders Manchester City and thus made the appropriate summer targets. Manchester City’s wondrous exploits have forced everyone to reassess their title-winning capabilities.
One name that seems to be popular on the list of both Arsenal & Tottenham is that of £30m rated Toulouse defender Issa Diop. The 21-year-old has shone through this season as one of Ligue 1’s brightest stars.
The French youngster is a key starter for Toulouse, making 26 starts already this season. In that time, Diop has averaged 1.8 tackles, 2 interceptions and 4 clearances per game. He’s a combative defender that excels in 1v1 battles, aerial duels and being part of a defensive system.
With his promising performances, he has attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, who are all scouting him closely. However, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, it is either Arsenal or Tottenham who will be most likely to sign him in the summer. Both clubs have watched him closely over the past year and have seen enough to act upon their judgment with a bid. It’s reported that Toulouse rate the French youngster at £30m, but with the inflated level of prices in today’s market, that price may go up by the summer.
Having spent £40m on Davinson Sánchez last summer, Tottenham is more than fully equipped in the defensive department. They have competent defenders like Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier and Davinson Sánchez, in contrast, the Gunners cannot boast such strength in defence.
At 32, Laurent Koscielny is at the tail end of his career, Shkodran Mustafi has been a disaster since day one, Calum Chambers isn’t up to the desired standard, Rob Holding is still inexperienced and Per Mertesacker is retiring at the end of this season.
The fact is, Arsenal are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, they’ve proved that severally this season. In 27 league games, the Gunners have conceded an astounding 36 goals, that’s the worst record of anyone in the top 7. In fact, that’s the same amount that 13th and 14th placed Newcastle & Brighton have conceded.
If Arsenal is to ever be taken seriously as a top team, defence must be their main priority. There’s no point signing in Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan if there’s no defensive cover behind them. Issa Diop offers Arsène Wenger the opportunity to transform the defence in his team for what could be his last season in charge of Arsenal. It’s imperative the Gunners beat Spurs to the signing of Diop if they are to put behind them an awful season.