Defensive reinforcements that Arsenal can target this summer
We have already talked about how strengthening the defence should be Mikel Arteta’s number one priority. The Gunners must address their backline if they wish to get back to challenging for titles anytime soon. With the summer transfer market now open, here we have a look at some defensive options for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to ponder bringing into the club.
Axel Disasi – Stade Reims
A product from Paris FC’s youth academy, Axel Disasi has been tipped for a bright future in France. Currently with Stade de Reims, the 22-year-old was an integral member of his side’s backline and helped them finish first in Ligue 2 last season. A hard-tackling centre-back blessed with football intelligence, Disasi will certainly be an upgrade on Arsenal’s current defensive options despite his lack of experience.
Mykola Matviyenko – Shakhtar Donetsk
Mykola Matviyenko began his football journey in the youth academy of Shakhtar Donetsk and has gone on to become an important member in the Ukrainian giants’ squad. Still relatively young at 24 years of age, the versatile defender is capable of playing as a centre-back and a left-back. He has plenty of time to develop into the finished article and will tighten Arsenal’s leaky defence. Already a Ukrainian international as well, the Gunners would do well to secure his signature before he grabs the attention of other top clubs from Europe.
John Stones – Manchester City
Out of favour John Stones would be a smart acquisition if Arsenal can get any deal over the line for the English centre-back. Arteta will know Stones’ strengths and weaknesses, having worked together when the Spaniard was assistant coach at Manchester City. While Stones has had more than his fair share of questionable moments at the back for club and country in recent times, the 26-year-old still has a lot of time to make good on his promise as a top ball-playing English defender. A shot to lead Arsenal’s defence could well be the break that he needs to revive his career, which has somewhat stalled of late.
Ben Godfrey – Norwich City
Ben Godfrey makes for a cheaper option for Arsenal to consider as far as strengthening their defence goes. After being relegated with Norwich City, the 22-year-old English centre-back will be wanted by many after being one of the Canaries’ better players last season. He will also come with Premier League experience and has proven that he can hold his own against the best in England’s top-flight. Godfrey had a 64 percent tackle success rate, completed 162 recoveries and made 148 clearances for Norwich last season.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Peter Powell