Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should go all out for Pape Abou Cisse?
The Senegal international, 23, has been impressing at the Africa Cup of Nations, which comes to an end on Friday, with the Lions of Teranga to contest the final against Algeria.
Wolves are also believed to be in for the centre-half, who made 29 appearances last season, eight in the Europa League.
Saliba will become the Gunners’ second signing of the summer following the arrival of Gabriel Martinelli; however, the Frenchman will be loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season.
But Unai Emery is keen for more reinforcements after missing out on Champions League football last term.
He’ll have the major task of replacing players, with Aaron Ramsey having already departed for Juventus on a free transfer and the possibility of Laurent Koscielny following the suit out of the Emirates remains a big possibility.
Koscielny has been a defensive stalwart for Arsenal having made 353 appearances for the Gunners.
Despite missing out most of last season due to an Achilles tendon injury, he managed to make 29 appearances under Emery, as the Gunners reached the Europa League final. However, the veteran Frenchman hasn’t travelled with the Arsenal squad for the pre-season tour and is expected to leave the club.
At 23, Pape Abou Cisse could be the perfect long-term replacement for Koscielny. The 23-year-old is also familiar with playing in a back three, which would be ideal for Emery, who used the system during the majority of the second half of last season.
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Standing at 6ft 6in tall, the Senegalese is an absolute monster at the back and capable of winning every aerial duel.
Cisse is blessed with immense strength and power and can shrug off his opponent without much fuss. He is also good with the ball at his feet and capable of passing it out from the back. The 23-year-old perfectly fits into Arsenal’s age and price profile with plenty of room to improve.
Arsenal need defensive reinforcements after last season’s horror show and although they have won the race for Saliba, the teenage Frenchman will spend the next season with Saint-Etienne.
Hence, it makes sense for Emery to sign someone who can come in and make an immediate impact. Cisse could just be that player.