Connect in the back of the net

Arsenal boasted the third best defence in the Premier League last season, conceding only as much as champions Leicester City did. Having said that, their defence had been shambolic, conceding goals rather easily.

The Gunners, accordingly, should strengthen their back four, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny turning 32 and 31 respectively come September, and Gabriel Paulista proving error-prone.

Here are five centre-backs Arsene Wenger could look to sign in the coming weeks.


Niklas Sule

Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, 20-year-old Niklas Sule can proceed to replace compatriot Mertesacker in the short run. Known for his finesse on the ball, he is also tactically astute, and much akin to Mertesacker, he is an impressive reader of the game.

As he possesses every trait that the Arsenal manager drools over, he should already be on Arsenal’s radar, but only Liverpool have registered their interest in him.

However, Arsenal could blow Liverpool out of the water in the pursuit with the lure of Champions League football if they were to make advances for the Hoffenheim centre-back.


Kalidou Koulibaly

Averaging 2.5 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game, Kalidou Koulibaly was influential in Napoli becoming runners-up in Serie A last season and was arguably the best centre-back in Italy.

Reports suggest that Arsenal could land him by activating his £31.5 million release clause, and given his passing ability and tackling prowess, Arsenal would not be reluctant to land him.

Daily Star and Metro have already reported that Arsenal are preparing a bid for him.

However, the Gunners will have to fend off Barcelona, Manchester United, and Chelsea, who are already sniffing around for the Senegalese’s signature.


Daniele Rugani

Arsenal seemed desperate to complete a January move for Daniele Rugani, but the defender decided to fight for first-team opportunities at Juventus.

His patience paid off as he managed 11 league starts in the second half of the season though he had played only 33 minutes of league football until January.

With the 20-year-old showing huge promise and Massimiliano Allegri rating him highly, Arsenal may not succeed in landing him. However, Arsenal will likely inquire about him or try to seal a loan deal.

The player may be tempted to move to Ashburton Grove on loan, as Giorgio Chiellini’s return will again reduce him to substitute appearances next season.


Aleksandar Dragovic

Arsenal were heavily linked with Aleksandar Dragovic last summer, but his name has hardly been mentioned as of late. At 25, he has already won nine major trophies, with his latest coming in the form of 2015/16 Ukrainian Premier League title.

Although he is contracted until June 2018, the Gunners can prise him to London with the right offer. However, Arsenal face stiff competition, as Borussia Dortmund are reportedly trying to replace Mats Hummels with him whilst Schalke are also keen on a move.

Given his elite level experience and the fact that he will cost less than £20 million, he can be a valuable addition to the Arsenal roster.


Mehdi Benatia

The British media is reporting that Arsenal are considering a move for Bayern Munich centre-back Mehdi Benatia.

With Hummels joining the Bavarians next season, the Moroccan will drop further down the pecking order, and a move to Arsenal will ostensibly make him a regular starter, provided he proves a better defender than Mertesacker.

Although his current contract runs until 2019, the Arsenal manager can sign him just as he brought in Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Petr Cech in the previous seasons.

However, Arsenal may not want to spend more than £20 million on him, as he will be 30 by the end of next campaign.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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