Arsenal were rumoured to be eyeing only at a striker transfer after wrapping up three signings, but Per Mertesacker’s five-month injury layoff has forced manager Arsene Wenger to be on the lookout for defensive reinforcements.
The manager himself has acknowledged his hunt, and the club has seen many centre-backs linked with them over a summer move.
The newest addition to the long list of ‘centre-back targets’ is Jonny Evans.
Why do Arsenal need him?
The Arsenal manager, whilst enquired about his potential summer recruits, emphasised on the experience of the transfer targets.
The 28-year-old defender is an 11-year Premier League veteran, who played for Sunderland and 20-time English champions Manchester United before moving to West Bromwich Albion; he has lifted 10 major trophies, including four Premier League titles.
On top of his decorated club career, Jonny Evans has also been a regular for Northern Ireland; he played every minute of Norn Iron’s 2016 European Championship campaign.
Although Jonny Evans will likely play second fiddle to even the unsettled Gabriel Paulista, his arrival will steady the ship in the absence of Arsenal’s skipper.
Besides, Arsenal have only a few options in the transfer window as Napoli are under no obligation to sell Arsenal’s key target Kalidou Koulibaly, after receiving £75.3 million in exchange for Gonzalo Higuain.
With insider Kike Marin alleging that the club have no interest in Shkodran Mustafi, it appears as though bringing down the former Manchester United castaway to Ashburton Grove is on Wenger’s mind.
How will he fit in?
In the event of Arsenal missing out on world-class defenders, signing the Northern Ireland international sounds a sensible move as he will add to the squad depth whilst not hampering the progress of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding.
Jonny Evans will likely be the fifth-choice centre-back in a perfect world, but Mertesacker’s injury and Laurent Koscielny’s extended holiday may get him considerable playing time in the first few matchdays.
Once everyone returns to full fitness, however, he will find himself on the bench more often than not.
Will Arsenal get him?
Neil Moxley of the Mirror reported on Saturday that the Londoners were readying a £16 million bid for his services.
However, despite signing him for £10 million less last summer, the Baggies will likely resist the temptation to accept the offer, with the club set to be taken over by Chinese multi-billionaire Xu Jiayin in the coming weeks – if anything, the new owners will only look to strengthen the squad.
Arsenal’s pursuit is destined to end in vain, much to the delight of the Arsenal supporters.
Will he want to leave the Hawthorns?
The player spent nine seasons at Old Trafford, averaging a measly 25 starts in his seven full seasons.
Although he is less likely to earn another Premier League winner’s medal with the Throstles, he should be enjoying the recognition and first-team minutes he musters at his new club.
Besides, Jonny Evans should also be cherishing sharing the dressing room with compatriots Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley.
At Arsenal, he will only be a bit-part player, and he will again be craving for minutes. Unless Arsenal promise to double his wages – they likely will not – he will play under Tony Pulis next season, donning West Brom’s blue and white stripes.
Arsenal supporters can take a breather.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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