Why Arsenal should make a January swoop for Faouzi Ghoulam
Back in January, Arsenal were one of the three clubs interested in signing Napoli left-back Faouzi Goulam, as per the Daily Mirror. However, Napoli extended Ghoulam’s contract to ward off any interest from Arsenal.
The 27-year-old joined Napoli from Saint-Etienne back in 2013 and has made over 150 appearances for the Serie A club since arriving in Naples. But the Algerian hasn’t played in over a year, after suffering a damaged cruciate ligament and then a broken kneecap.
However, Ghoulam is on the road to recovery and should be available for the trip to Udinese on October 20.
Shifting the focus on Arsenal, the Gunners have been in rollicking form after suffering back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea this season. Unai Emery, after a rocky start, has turned around the Gunners’ fortunes by making them play a possession-based, attacking brand of football.
The summer signings too have adapted to the Premier League very well and the Arsenal team is now looking more cohesive than they did at the start of the season. However, one area Emery needs to strengthen during the January transfer window is the left-back position.
While Nacho Monreal has been incredibly consistent over the last 18 months and has added goals to his game, he is set to turn 33 in February. Monreal has established himself as a reliable attacking outlet on the left but when it comes to defending against tricky and nippy attackers, he struggles and often fails to match their pace.
Meanwhile, Sead Kolasinac has not lived up to the expectations since moving to the Emirates on a free transfer from Schalke last year.
Hence, signing a new left-back would make sense for Emery as the time is ripe for him to start considering options to replace the ageing Monreal. In that case, Arsenal must certainly reignite their interest in Faouzi Ghoulam.
Ghoulam is one of the well-rounded full-backs in Europe. The Algerian is defensively diligent and effective going forward. He is a very good passer and crosser of the ball, and his technique and work rate have made him such a delightful player to watch.
Blessed with blistering pace and bundles of energy, Ghoulam is also capable of delivering quality set-pieces and he is excellent in the air too. Injuries have halted his progress a bit but the 27-year-old is now back to full fitness and once again ready to charge forward on the left for Napoli.
An attacking full-back with a positive mindset, Ghoulam could be a fantastic buy for the Gunners, but he certainly won’t come cheap given the talent that he is.