Why Arsenal should reignite their interest in Eray Comert
Premier League rivals Everton were also linked with a move for the 21-year-old, who made 31 appearances for Swiss giants FC Basel in all competitions over the course of the previous campaign. (Daily Mail h/t Metro)
The 21-year-old had been shortlisted by former Gunners manager Unai Emery as a potential transfer target this past summer in a bid to bolster the club’s porous and vulnerable backline that was so often the cause of their undoing in the Premier League last term.
However, speculations linking Eray Comert with a move to North London eventually came to nothing and the Swiss starlet continued to shine in his homeland at Basel.
Arsenal eventually went on to capture the services of French defender William Saliba from Saint-Etienne before loaning him back to his former club for the entirety of the ongoing campaign
David Luiz was also roped in as a short-term fix from London rivals Chelsea to cover for the departure of long-serving captain Laurent Koscielny and provide that much-needed stability and experience at the back. Fast-forwarding the sequence of events to December, Arsenal are struggling.
The club’s defensive woes are far from sorted out and the gaping holes at the back have been even more visible this term following the departure of Koscielny, with David Luiz’s move across the capital turning into a massive disappointment.
With the first-choice centre-back pairing of Luiz and Sokratis failing to live up to the expectations and the likes of Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi equally underwhelming, it is a no-brainer that Arsenal need to focus on bringing in further reinforcements at the back when the transfer window reopens in January.
To that end, the Gunners must make a renewed attempt to sign Eray Comert, who has been making waves with his impressive displays at Basel in Switzerland while also proving his worth as a fine prospect in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League this term.
Born in Switzerland to parents of Turkish descent, Comert rose through the youth ranks of Basel before bursting on to the first-team picture back in the 2015-16 season.
However, he had to go through loan spells at fellow top-flight clubs in his homeland, Lugano and Sion before establishing himself as a mainstay at the back for Basel last season.
Having made 31 appearances in all competitions last term, Comert has already clocked up 26 appearances for Basel in the ongoing campaign, scoring thrice in the process, and his rapid progress has been well backed up by his numbers.
As per Whoscored, Eray Comert averages 44.8 passes per game at an accuracy of 81.7%, including 1.4 long balls, 2.8 tackles, 1.8 clearances and 1.6 interceptions per game in the Europa League this term, figures which are a testament to his well-rounded attributes as a modern-day ball-playing centre-back in the making.
Comert, of course, is still very much a work in progress at the tender age of 21 but his stocks are currently soaring higher than ever following his international debut for Switzerland last month.
The Basel academy graduate, who is a player with loads of potential, still has his best years ahead of him and Arsenal need to start looking at him once again as someone who could evolve into one of the club’s defensive mainstays in the years to come.
Historically, the Gunners pride themselves in polishing little-known gems into top-quality professionals and Eray Comert has the potential to make his presence felt in a more competitive league moving forward.
Bolstering the backline with some much-needed fresh blood in January could go a long way towards moving away from the ageing trio of Sokratis, Mustafi and Luiz that has failed to provide any sort of stability at the back, and Comert certainly ticks all the boxes to come through the door as a fine young defender with plenty of room for development.
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All in all, Arsenal reigniting interest in Eray Comert could pay off handsomely for them in the future as they continue to strive for greater heights in the post-Emery era.