3 centre-backs who Arsenal should target in January

After a summer of heavy spending, Arsenal have made a promising start to the 2019-20 season and manager Unai Emery has every reason to be pleased with how things have panned out for him so far in the ongoing campaign. 

Arsenal currently find themselves 7th in the standings with two wins and two draws in their first five games and while that means that the Gunners are currently not in the top-four, they still have plenty of time left in the season to make a surge for a Champions League place. 

With that in mind, however, it is worth mentioning here that the draw of fixtures hasn’t been particularly kind to the Gunners, given that they have already had to face the likes of Liverpool as well as bitter rivals Spurs early in the season. 

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The performances of the players at the back, though, haven’t been up to the mark, especially in the games against Liverpool and Spurs, and Arsenal’s backline has already creaked far too often for Emery’s liking.

Vulnerability at the back was one of the main talking points of Arsenal’s campaign in the Premier League last season and though they brought in David Luiz to plug the holes at the back, the Gunners might be forced to dip into the market in January once again given the Brazilian’s torrid start to his time in North London. 

The loss of experienced heads like Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscienly has further depleted Arsenal’s depth at the back and the lack of a solid centre-back pairing might once again prove to be a major stumbling block in the Gunners’ pursuit of a top-four finish this term.

With that in mind, let us take a look at 3 centre-backs who they can look to sign during the mid-season trading period:

1. Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

The French U-21 international was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates throughout the summer but Arsenal struggled to get a deal over the line, with the 20-year-old’s current club RB Leipzig turning down a £55million offer for the young centre-back. 

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Upamecano has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the burgeoning young talents in the German Bundesliga since his move from Salzburg in January 2017.

A tall, strong and physically imposing centre-back who is also very adept at playing it out from the back, the 20-year-old also has a good turn of pace to complement his old-fashioned way of defending. 

In other words, he is someone who encapsulates the features of an old-school centre-back and a modern-day ball-playing defender with a touch of dynamism in his style of play. He is unlikely to come cheap but Arsenal would bag a real coup if they manage to land him in January.

2. Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)

Certainly a more established central defender in Germany when compared to Upamecano, Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah was linked with a move to Arsenal prior to the January transfer window in 2019. 

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A youth product of Hamburger SV, he became the youngest ever debutant for his boyhood club before earning a move to Bayer Leverkusen in 2015.

The 23-year-old centre-back, who stands at 6ft 5in with a towering frame, has earned rave reviews in his homeland for his sharpness, agility, strength, as well as incredible passing and distribution ability.

Tah, who has 6 caps for Germany at the senior international level, seems to have all the attributes to fit seamlessly into Unai emery’s plans.

Furthermore, he is still young and has plenty of years ahead of him to work on his game and develop into a physically imposing defender in the Premier League. 

3. Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)

A face lot more familiar to the Premier League followers, Nathan Ake struggled to make the grade at Chelsea but he has really come of age since his move to Bournemouth a couple of years ago. 

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The Dutchman has evolved into a powerful centre-back with impressive technical abilities on the south coast of England under the watchful eyes of Eddie Howe and at 24, the time might just be right for him to test his credentials at a top-six club in the division.

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Already a full-fledged international for the Netherlands, Ake is expected to hit his prime as a centre-back in the next two or three years and his homegrown status should make him a lucrative prospect for Arsenal.

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