Arsene Wenger’s search for defensive reinforcements continues to hot up as the Frenchman has been sending scouts across the world in search. We’ve reported you in recent weeks that Arsenal has kept touts on several centre-backs across Europe’s top 5 leagues especially.
According to reports in Italy this week , Arsenal have sent a team of scouts to watch Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. It’s believed that the club’s scouts were present at Napoli’s Europa League game against RB Leipzig on Thursday. A game in which the Italian team lost 3-1, even with Koulibaly starting. Napoli currently sits top of Serie A, 1 point ahead of defending champions Juventus. Koulibaly and his men have only conceded 15 goals in 25 matches.
Calciomercato ( reported in English by mirror ) believe that Arsene Wenger is more than willing to spend big money on the defender as Shkodran Mustafi has failed to impress him this season. The Gunners have astonishingly conceded 36 goals in the Premier League this season, more than anyone else in the top 7. It’s this worrying form that has forced Arsenal to step up their chase for a defender in the summer.
This season the Kalidou Koulibaly has averaged 1.9 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 0.4 blocks and 3.4 clearances per game. The Senegalese international is strong, physically dominant, quick and great in the air, the 6’5” beast weighs an intimidating 200lbs. With these physical traits, the centre-back would adjust to life in the Premier League with suitable ease.
Although he would significantly improve the Gunners toughness, the 26-year-old has been known to be irrational at times. His positioning is decent, but he can at times let a rush of blood affect his decision-making, especially in marking strikers. This is the same problem that Shkodran Mustafi displays every week at the Emirates. If he were to come to the Emirates, he’d need a composed commanding centre-back next to him, Laurent Koscielny is not that man. If Arsene Wenger does choose to sign Koulibaly, he’ll need to sign an assured defensive partner like Stefan de Vrij to accompany him.
It’s believed that Kalidou Koulibaly would cost the Gunners in the region of £39m, but the Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis is notorious for getting the best deals for his players. In 2016, he got a record £81million for Gonzalo Higuain despite him being 28 at the time. Arsene Wenger felt that fee was too high at the time and instead opted to spend £46m on Alexandre Lacazette a year later.
Today it was announced that Arsenal has secured a 5-year extension for their shirt partnership with the Emirates, making it the largest sponsorship deal in the club’s history. Surely this will mean that Arsenal hasmore disposable income to spend in the summer?