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Arsenal lost their ‘top four’ status last season in the Premier League and are currently competing in the UEFA Europa League competition. Arsene Wenger, the veteran Gunners boss, was keen to add reinforcements back in summer but only managed a couple of inclusions in the form of Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette.
Wenger, however, is not defeated yet and is set to explore the transfer market once more when it reopens next month. They are very much in ‘top four’ contention this term but Wenger needs to bring in new recruits, especially a central defensive resource to strengthen their backline. As per latest rumours, they are keen on spending £35.4m on young Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani, who is also weighing up options for some regular game time.
Arsenal have a few defensive options but none of them except Laurent Koscielny has managed to assure stability in their backline. Both Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are still young and haven’t fully earned Wenger’s trust yet. Per Mertesacker is in the twilight of his career and has decided to hang up his boots at the end of this season. Shkodran Mustafi hasn’t really settled in since his move from Valencia last year. Although the German international has had his moments, his injuries and inconsistency have forced the gaffer to find an alternative.
Daniele Rugani, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the brightest prospects for the Azzurri but is struggling to achieve game time under Massimiliano Allegri ahead of veterans Giorgio Chiellini, Medhi Benatia and Andrea Barzagli. Although he has four senior international caps and has made 10 Serie A appearances this term for the Old Lady, Rugani has lost his first-team status lately, which is hindering his growth as a top-notch central defensive resource.
Rugani is certainly Juventus’ future but the 6ft 3in centre-back is more concerned about his present and a reported £35.4m move to Arsenal is on the cards. He is 23 only but holds all attributes to become a quality defender if given opportunities regularly in a top football league. Arsenal will be able to offer him game time and the experience of Koscielny will help him flourish further in new surroundings.
Wenger was forced to play left-back Nacho Monreal in a makeshift left centre-back role while fielding a three-man backline. He has recently switched to a ‘back four’ in the past few outings and Rugani’s presence will add more flexibility, for the French veteran to construct his defensive unit.
The ‘Kostafi’ partnership has not really worked out despite a bright inception, but the duo of Koscielny – Rugani holds better probability of being a bigger success and eventually become one of Premier League’s best defensive alliance.