The Bundesliga is back underway and being the frontrunner of European football in this sense, fans across the globe joined to watch the German top-flight commence for a second time this season. The league kicked back off in true fashion, as Borussia Dortmund got a 4-0 home win over their rivals Schalke 04. I wish that was a pun, but it wasn’t.
I watched this match and one player, other than the goal scorers and assist providers, caught my eye. That player was Manuel Akanji, the 24-year-old who slotted into an experienced back-three well and didn’t look out of place in the slightest as he kept a clean sheet. Akanji was relatively untested but when he was, he rarely gave the Schalke attackers a sniff of goal. He also showed some excellent ability to pass the ball out from the back.
This is why I am somewhat surprised to see rumours linking him with a move to Arsenal, because I feel somewhat unworthy. However, I cannot complain, of course. He would be the perfect defensive partner to William Saliba and it would sort the Gunners out for many years down the line.
According to The Sun, Akanji could be the man for Mikel Arteta. It’s reported that Arsenal are planning a move for him, and he is thought to be rumoured at around £25m, which even given Arsenal’s budget, is doable amid player sales. And for Akanji too, it is worth it.
Whether or not this move will come into fruition remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure, no one can fault Manuel Akanji for his terrific displays of late, albeit there was a big break in between them. Akanji could be the man to fix Arsenal’s defensive issue and give Arteta a strong defensive fundamental heading into the future.
Cover image: Эдгар Брещанов, 2018