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Arsenal Opinion: Unai Emery’s reunion with Presnel Kimpembe could solve the Gunners’ defensive problems next season

According to The Sun, Arsenal are exploring the possibility of signing PSG centre-back Presnel Kimpembe in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that the Gunners have contracted the player’s father and his agent to find out if a transfer is possible.

The Sun understands that the 23-year-old, who was a part of the French side that won the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia last summer, is rated at
£30 million by the French champions.

The same source claims that Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Man United and Chelsea would also join the race to sign Kimpembe if the Frenchman becomes available for negotiation this summer.

The 23-year-old made a total of 36 appearances for PSG in all competitions this past season, as Thomas Tuchel’s side clinched yet another domestic title. Kimpembe, however, did find himself down the pecking order at times, with the manager preferring the likes of Marquinhos and veteran Thiago Silva at the heart of the defence.

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The Sun suggests that PSG are plotting a big-money swoop for Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt this summer and should the Ligue 1 heavyweights manage to get that deal over the line, Kimpembe might find himself shunted further down the pecking order at the French capital next term.

A youth product of PSG, Kimpembe made rapid progress through the ranks and featured initially for the reserve sides of his boyhood club before eventually making his first-team bow in the 2014-15 season.

The talented youngster struggled for regular minutes in his first couple of seasons at the senior level but he gradually went from strength to strength and established himself as one of the mainstays of the backline since the start of the 2017-18 campaign.

The highly-rated 23-year-old, who currently has 8 caps for France at the senior international level, has been tipped by many to be the future of his nation’s backline. Kimpembe has made a total of 112 appearances for PSG in all competitions till date, scoring once.

Arsenal’s links with Kimpembe probably stems from Unai Emery’s familiarity with the 23-year-old, given that the Spaniard had worked with the player during his managerial days at PSG. Indeed, Emery played a key role in Kimpembe’s growth and development into one of the best young defenders in France by showing faith in his abilities.

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Keeping that in mind, it probably won’t be a bad idea for Arsenal to go all out in their pursuit of Presnel Kimpembe and Emery’s familiarity with the player could hand them the upper hand in this deal.

The Gunners are likely to have to work under serious financial constraints this summer after missing out on qualification to the Champions League for the third successive season and the 23-year-old presents a relatively cheap and affordable option for the North Londoners.

To put things into perspective, it is a no-brainer that Arsenal need to invest in a new centre-back this summer after enduring a horrible season defensively last term, which saw the Gunners concede as many as 51 goals in the Premier League.

Shkodran Mustafi was slammed repeatedly by the fans and pundits for his bizarre defensive errors, whilst the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos all struggled with injuries.

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Koscielny is nearing the twilight of his career and the Gunners should not expect the Frenchman to carry on for too long, with the 33-year-old’s contract set to expire in 2020.

Holding is expected to be back in the reckoning next season after a long spell on the sidelines, but as things stand, Sokratis seems to be the only centre-back at the Emirates to be without any grave issues.

Arsenal will be expected to challenge for a top-four finish next term but that is unlikely to happen with such a brittle, vulnerable and error-prone backline. Emery needs to find a way to sort things out and the acquisition of Presnel Kimpembe would certainly freshen up the Gunners’ defensive options with some much-needed young blood.

A fast, agile, athletic and technically-gifted centre-back, Kimpembe also has the versatility to fill in at left-back, meaning that the Gunners could also afford to look at him as someone who could provide cover in multiple areas of the pitch.

Noted for his ability and composure in possession, the Frenchman is also quite strong on the tackle and combines his game-reading skills with his pace to keep the opposition at bay.

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The 23-year-old is regarded as a player with a lot of potential and Emery’s presence at the helm of affairs should make the process of acclimatisation to the Premier League a lot easier for him.

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That said, Arsenal should leave no stone unturned in their efforts to reunite Emery with Kimpembe, given that the completion of such a move could pay rich dividends next season and solve grave issues in a key area of the pitch for the Gunners.

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