Why Arsenal must splash £15m to sign Ezri Konsa from Brentford
According to The Sun, Arsenal are interested in signing Brentford defender Ezri Konsa. As per the tabloid, the Gunners are readying a £15million bid for the centre-back. Interestingly enough, Konsa signed for the Championship club from League One side Charlton Athletic in the summer transfer window as Brentford paid a fee of £2.85million for the England U21 international.
Arsenal’s scouting team are positive the youngster can step up to the Premier League like ex-Charlton players Rob Holding, Joe Gomez and Ademola Lookman (h/t The Sun).
Gomez has established himself as a mainstay in Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing side. The 21-year-old is a full England international and has been part of Liverpool’s impressive defence. Holding, on the other hand, is enjoying a good run of games at Arsenal. He’s made 12 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal this term, starting 11 times. Lookman has also been impressive at Everton.
After a stuttering start to the post-Wenger era, Unai Emery’s side is currently on a 12-game unbeaten run. Arsenal are hot on the heels of fourth-placed Chelsea and are just one point below their London rivals. However, Arsenal’s defence will be a concern to their Spanish manager.
The Gunners have conceded 16 goals, three times more than what Manchester City or Liverpool have let in. The top two clubs have only conceded 5 times in 13 games. To put things into perspective, Arsenal have conceded the most goals of any side in the European qualification places.
Defensive improvement is needed to boost Arsenal’s chances of winning the league or perhaps, more realistically, a top-four finish. Emery is yet to settle with a specific back four. The Spaniard boss is still chopping and changing as players are adapting to the new tactics.
With Sokratis and, at times, Shkodran Mustafi struggling at the heart of the Arsenal defence, Ezri Konsa would be a great addition. Comfortable on the ball and able to pick a pass, Konsa can also dribble. The 21-year-old’s penchant for playing short passes make him a good fit for a side set up to play out from the back.
Ezri Konsa has made 17 appearances in the Championship for Brentford so far this season. Konsa has averaged 0.8 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 3.6 clearances and 0.5 blocks per game.
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His impressive performances explain the previous interest in the young defender from Premier League sides. Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion were interested in signing Konsa in the summer before his move to the Championship.
Nevertheless, all signs are indicative of the fact that he would be a great addition to Arsenal in the January window.
This two-time Premier League champion must join any of these 2 English clubs for one last hurrah – Agreed?
Premier League Opinion: 2 PL destinations for Antonio Valencia
According to a recent report by the Daily Mail, Premier League newcomers Sheffield United are said to be eyeing up a move for Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia, as they look to add top-flight experience to the ranks.
The Blades boast a very young side and although they did extremely well to overcome the Championship last season, the Premier League is a totally different ballgame. Like Fulham last season, promotion to the top can have extremely scarring effects on some sides unless they tread carefully.
It was also suggested in a report by Sky Sports recently that last season’s Europa League finalists Arsenal are keen on bringing the United skipper to the Emirates, as Unai Emery looks to fill the gaping holes in his back-line.
The Gunners defence was in absolute shambles for many of the important league games this season and when it mattered most, they seemed to simply capitulate under the pressure. The addition of Valencia would go a long way in reinforcing a position that’s given the Gunners a lot of problems over the last couple of seasons.
Antonio Valencia is an Ecuadorean international full-back, who’s been a fantastic servant at Old Trafford since 2009. Out of contract this summer, a move away from United is imminent, with just his destination yet to be revealed.
He certainly still has a lot to offer to any side because of the sheer experience and quality that he possesses. His exploits for United over the years have become the stuff of Premier League legend and his leadership skills will be a massive boost as well.
Here are the two clubs keen on his signature:
The Gunners’ alarming need for a defensive revamp is quite clear to see now and if all the errors and individual mistakes were removed from their game last season, Unai Emery might’ve been able to take home a trophy at the end of it.
The right-back role has been a headache for Gunners fans over the years and despite the presence of injured star Hector Bellerin, there is a need for immediate reinforcements. Valencia has the composure to slot into a back-line and do a job for them and that’s why this move actually makes a lot of sense.
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The Blades will have to be extremely careful as they try to manoeuvre the treacherous Premier League waters after a long absence away.
Although they did enough to make it here without having to go through the playoffs, their squad certainly doesn’t look the best-suited to overcome the action-packed nature of top-flight football.
Valencia’s brilliant ability to get things going down the flank with strong forward runs will help their cause next season and they must sign him up before the other suitors get to him.
This towering 18-year-old wall would work wonders by joining any of these 2 top Premier League clubs – Agreed?
Premier League Opinion: 2 ideal PL destinations for William Saliba
According to a recent report by the Metro, Saint-Etienne’s French defender William Saliba is said to be attracting heavy interest from a couple of the Premier League’s biggest clubs this summer.
It has been suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United and Unai Emery’s Arsenal are both extremely keen on the young talent, who recently broke into the first-team at the club after working his way through the academy.
Although it was his debut season, he has shown no signs of weakness
from the moment he first stepped onto the pitch. The Frenchman is only 18 but was an integral part of Jean-Louis Gasset’s Saint-Etienne side that managed to grab onto a 4th place finish in Ligue 1 this season.
He is a tall centre-half, who certainly makes his presence felt by using his physicality to good effect. Despite being young, he showcased some excellent leadership qualities this season and also managed to keep his composure throughout the course of the long and strenuous Ligue 1 campaign.
It has been suggested that the youngster is open to a step up to the Premier League next season, with only his eventual destination yet to be decided. It was earlier believed that Manchester United were in the driving seat because the player’s agent was spotted near the stadium.
Despite this, it now appears that the Gunners have entered the driving seat in terms of negotiations, with a deal expected to be struck in the coming weeks.
Here are the two PL clubs where he could end up next season:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were defensively quite poor over the entirety of last season and if they are to have any hopes of breaking into the top four, let alone win the title, they will need to make multiple additions to toughen up at the back.
The inconsistency of players like Phil Jones and Chris Smalling needs to be dealt with and the acquisition of a young and assured head like Saliba would certainly be a step in the right direction.
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The Gunners’ defensive struggles have extended far longer than the stretch of recent memory. Despite the presence of experienced stars like Laurent Koscielny, the number of individual errors Arsenal committed last season cost them quite a lot in the grand scheme of things.
The addition of a youthful and dynamic defender who can add a little bit of freshness to the back-line could be exactly what Unai Emery’s side needs this summer.
Arsenal should sign this 21-year-old Serie A starlet for a cut-price deal of €12m despite restricted budget – Here’s why
Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should buy back Ismael Bennacer?
Ismael Bennacer, 21, was one of the rare bright sparks for Empoli in an otherwise disappointing campaign which ended in relegation from Serie A. The French-born Algerian managed 37 appearances in the Serie A, bagging five assists in the process.
And the 21-year-old’s performances haven’t gone unnoticed, with Calciomercato claiming the likes of Genoa and Napoli also said to be interested. The report adds, however, Napoli have moved to the front of the queue for his signature, by preparing a €12m offer for Ismael Bennacer.
Interestingly, Bennacer was sold to Empoli after making just one senior appearance for Arsenal. But the North London club had inserted a buy-back clause into his contract while selling him to the Italian club in 2017. Given the Algerian international’s consistent performances for Empoli this past season, the time is ripe for the Gunners to exercise their buy-back clause and beat Napoli to Bennacer’s signature.
The Gunners will only have £40million to spend in the summer window after missing out on Champions League, following their Europa League final defeat to Chelsea. Unai Emery has a massive summer ahead of him, where changes need to happen for Arsenal to give them a strong chance of finishing inside the top-four next term.
Having conceded over 50 goals in the Premier League, it is imperative Emery shores up his backline first before moving onto achieving other targets. Bolstering the options in midfield is also a necessity, following the exit of Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer to Juventus. The Welshman’s departure has left Emery with Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in midfield.
With Elneny set to depart, Arsenal need help in midfield and Emery must sign a player who is equally good in shielding the backline and creating chances in the final third. Thus, adding someone like Ismael Bennacer would make sense for the Gunners.
Bennacer ticks all the boxes. The 21-year-old is a defensive midfielder by trade but he is equally adept at creating chances with his creative passing and distribution skills. He is a tireless worker in the middle of the park, renowned for breaking up opposition’s play and setting his team for the counter.
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The Algerian international has a good turn of pace, dribbling skills and technique, which when combined with his tenacity and energy makes him such an exciting player to watch. All in all, Bennacer would undoubtedly bolster Arsenal’s midfield ranks, whilst filling the void left by Ramsey.
At 21, Bennacer has a long way to go in his career. He has impressed in Empoli colours in Italy and has shown just why Arsenal would be right in bringing him back to the Emirates this summer.
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