According to reports, Arsenal are willing to pay £35m For Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu. In what was a miserable season for the Gunners, where they conceded 51 Premier League goals, the north London club have been linked with a number of high-profile defenders.
Borussia Dortmund’s defensive wall Sokratis Papastathopoulos and relegated Premier League club West Brom’s Jonny Evans have all done the rounds but it is believed that Arsenal are set to secure the services of highly-rated Caglar Soyuncu from Freiburg.
Per Mertesacker has retired and will take up a coaching role next season, while Laurent Koscielny is set to be sidelined for a few months due to injury.
While Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are a few central defenders to name, there is a perceived lack of depth in the defensive department and it certainly needs addressing before the start of the new season.
Arsenal’s head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, who previously worked at Dortmund, has identified Soyuncu as the ideal player to solve their defensive woes.
Soyuncu started out as a teenager at Altinordu in Turkey’s second division. Soon, his impressive performances caught the eyes of some clubs but it was Freiburg who won the battle for his signature, bringing him to the Bundesliga in 2016.
Initially, the Turkish defender struggled to cope with the intensity and speed of the Bundesliga. But with time, Soyuncu developed his game gradually and is now considered as one of the best young defenders in Germany.
Such has been his meteoric rise in the last two seasons that Soyuncu has also started drawing comparisons with Bayern Munich’s defensive stalwart Mats Hummels due to their similar range of passing and reading of the game.
Solid in the air and comfortable in possession, the young Turk is a ball-playing centre-back. He combines his robustness with a keen understanding of the game, hardly putting a foot wrong.
Soyuncu is adept at playing from both feet and rarely gets flustered in tricky situations. It is the confidence and self-belief the 21-year-old possesses that make him such a fantastic talent to watch in play.
While Soyuncu is a combative defender and rarely makes mistakes, he is susceptible to rash challenges, picking up unnecessary bookings.
He lacks positional sense at times, which is understandable given that he is just 21 years old. Barring the few rough edges, Soyuncu is a sublime talent and has all the makings to become a top defender.
After conceding above 50 goals this season, Arsenal fans would love their club to break the bank and sign a top quality centre-half, capable of guiding the myriad of young defenders at their ranks.
A top centre-half like Jonny Evans makes sense but whoever takes the managerial role next season would hope for a long-term investment as they would be tasked with rebuilding the squad.
In that case, Soyuncu would be a fantastic long-term investment for the Gunners. One can be forgiven for not knowing much about Soyuncu but it is the right time that Arsenal fans show some trust in their head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat.