It was a no-brainer for Arsenal to bring in defensive reinforcements over the summer after conceding 51 goals in the Premier League last season. And they did so by signing the likes of David Luiz, Kieran Tierney and William Saliba, although the latter returned to Saint-Etienne on a season-long spell.
Laurent Koscielny, having refused to travel on the Gunners’ pre-season tour, left for Bordeaux on a sore note after spending nine long years in north London.
The veteran Frenchman further infuriated fans when he tossed away his Arsenal shirt during his official Bordeaux unveiling. Nevertheless, Arsenal needed cover following Koscielny’s departure and they made a surprise late swoop for Luiz from Chelsea.
But Luiz hasn’t set the world alight and conceded two penalties as the Gunners have struggled defensively once again.
The Brazilian has looked rash in his overall play, failing to offer the defensive stability that the fans would have hoped for this term. His poor positional awareness and decision-making has even seen Sokratis Papastathopoulos look clueless at times.
Sokratis is also 31 and is not getting any younger, while Calum Chambers finally appears ready to step up with a regular berth in the Arsenal team at the age of 24.
Rob Holding is back from injury and will be looking to cement his place in Unai Emery’s starting XI. With Shkodran Mustafi’s future up in the air, it would make sense for Arsenal to sign a central defender in January.
Back in June, a report from the Metro had claimed Arsenal were interested in signing Borussia Dortmund’s Dan-Axel Zagadou. However, a deal didn’t go through and he stayed put at Borussia Dortmund.
A product of the Paris Saint-Germain academy, Dan-Axel Zagadou, 20, joined Dortmund in the summer of 2017.
He endured an injury-hit debut season at Dortmund that limited him to just 11 Bundesliga appearances. The Frenchman missed a lot of games with injuries last season as well, meaning he managed just 17 league appearances.
The return of Mats Hummels to the club from Bayern Munich has increased the competition for places and lessened the opportunity for Zagadou to continue his development.
Even though he’ll face competition at Arsenal, the 20-year-old would inject some young blood and energy into Emery’s backline.
Zagadou is good in possession, quick and also has the physical attributes to be able to cope with the demands of the English game.
His pace would also be a valuable asset in a Gunners defence that has been exposed by quicker attackers in the last few years. Plus, the France Under-19 international can also play at left-back, which would see him add competition for Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney.
Zagadou would not come at huge cost and if he can maintain his fitness, he’ll prove a smart long-term asset to the Arsenal defence.
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