Why signing Willy Boly would be a smart piece of business for Arsenal
The Gunners splashed the cash on teenager William Saliba as an exciting prospect for the future during the summer transfer window, while David Luiz was recruited as a short-term fix from London rivals Chelsea after long-serving club-captain Laurent Koscielny departed under acrimonious circumstances.
However, with Saliba currently out on loan at St. Etienne in his homeland and David Luiz reminding the fans time and again of his error-prone and impetuous nature as a centre-back early in the campaign, Arsenal have apparently started to weigh up other options in the market, with Wolverhampton’s Willy Boly the latest to emerge on their radar.
Boly, who reunited with his former Porto manager Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves initially on a season-long loan deal back in the summer of 2017, has proven his credentials in English football over the course of his stay at Molineux, with his rich vein of form prompting the Gunners to line him up as a potential target ahead of the January window.
Wolves paid Porto £10 million to secure the centre-back’s services permanently last summer following their promotion to the Premier League and Boly has proven himself to be worth every penny of that outlay.
Stability at the back has been one of the hallmarks of Wolves’ game since their return to the top-flight under Nuno Santo and the 28-year-old has impressed as one of the mainstays of the club’s backline, playing alongside captain Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett in a back-three system.
The former French youth international has already racked up a total of 92 appearances for Wolves across all competitions, scoring 8 goals in the process, with his injury-time winner against Besiktas on Matchday 2 of the UEFA Europa League further enhancing his status as a firm fan favourite at Molineux.
Wolves pulled off a massive upset in the Premier League on Sunday, as a brace from Adama Traore sunk reigning champions Man City on their own backyard. Nuno Santo’s side have finally managed to get their campaign up and running with three consecutive victories in all competitions after a slow start and Boly’s stellar displays at the back haven’t gone unnoticed.
To put things into perspective, Arsenal completing a move for the towering centre-back in January could prove to be a real masterstroke from Unai Emery and one that hands them a massive boost in their pursuit of a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Willy Boly might not be the most high-profile defender in the top-flight but he has certainly progressed by leaps and bounds over the past twelve months or so and at 28, the time might just be right for him to complete a move to a bigger club.
Arsenal’s problems at the back have been well-documented for a long time now and Boly could be the man to answer Emery’s prayers for a commanding presence at the heart of the defence with his towering 6ft. 5-inch frame.
Strong and fearless in the tackle and an absolute beast in the air, Boly not only has the physicality to add that steel to the Gunners’ backline but his technical abilities on the ball, sharp turn of pace, agility to cope with pacey opposition coupled with that uncanny knack for finding the net on crucial occasions should make him an excellent addition to the club’s ranks.
With error-prone Sokratis not getting any younger at 31, Luiz no better than a defensive liability, Shkodran Mustafi pretty much a marginalised figure these days and Konstantinos Mavropanos a regular on the treatment table, someone like Boly, who is very much in his prime at 28, might be a handy option to fix the defensive problems for the foreseeable future.
The Frenchman averages a staggering 4.5 aerial duels, 3.4 tackles, 7.1 clearances and 1.7 interceptions per game in the Premier League this term, figures which speak volumes of his superb all-round attributes as a defender.
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All in all, Boly is likely to come well within Arsenal’s budget and the Gunners should look at him as someone who could offer excellent value for money in the transfer market.
The 28-year-old Wolves star might not have the profile to make a lot of noise amongst the fans but getting a deal over the line would be a shrewd piece of business for Arsenal, nevertheless.