Arseanl transfers: Three defenders Arsene Wenger should target
Eve Langford examines three defenders Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger should try to sign this summer
Virgil Van Dijk
It is no secret that Virgil Van Dijk is desperate to leave Celtic and re-claim his spot in his national side. The Dutchman has stated his desire to depart the Scottish club for a Premier League or further afield. Van Dijk is an ambitious young player and, though grateful to Celtic for his time at the club, is ready to take a step into the bigger leagues. In doing so, he hopes to increase his chances of selection for the European championship next summer thanks to “more pressure (and) better opponents” that he will face in the elite leagues. Celtic will not be willing to part with the Dutchman. Remarkably for a defender, he was their fifth highest goal-scorer and made the most appearances last season. Arsenal may have to stump up £10m for the centre-half, but with Van Dijk’s passion to play top-level football and his impressive record behind him, he would be worth it.
Now that Arsene Wenger has made his star signing in Petr Cech, he will be wanting to sure up any defensive holes, to give his new goalkeeper the best possible start to his Arsenal career. The troublesome area for Wenger’s team seemed to be at left-back last season and he will now surely be looking for a defender of quality to secure the position. In Jetro Willems, Arsenal could have more than just a left-back on their hands. Willems has a phenomenal record with his current club, Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven. With 15 assists and three goals in all competitions last term, he is not a player to wait for the action to come to him. Although he has come in for some criticism for his lack of defensive awareness, Willem’s blistering pace and passing precision are a generous compensation. With Kieran Gibbs looking likely to be Wenger’s first choice at left-back as the season begins, Willems could be an excellent way to inject forward momentum into Arsenal’s defence.
Kostas Manolas is a highly-rated player, so it is no surprise that he is a wanted man throughout Europe. Wenger pursued him last summer, only to lose out to Roma. Undeterred, it seems he is trying his luck for the defender again this summer. Manolas is well known for his precision passing and his ability to win ariel duels. He would bring a set of skills to Arsenal that would enhance their goal-scoring opportunities from open play and the counter-attack. After an excellent season at Roma, Manolas will be difficult to tempt away from his current squad. However, La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that a major shake-up will be made of the Roma defence this summer and, although Manolas can be quite sure of a starting shirt, the unsettled nature of his team may drive him towards a more stable position elsewhere. The Greek defender would be a fantastic signing for Arsenal, who would be starting the new season with one of the most formidable defences in the Premier League.