Since Arteta joined Arsenal, our defensive woes that plagued Emery and Wenger in his final years at the club seem to be in the rear-view mirror. However, Arsenal reportedly want to turn a good defence into a great one by signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.
On the left side of our defence we already have Tierney and Gabriel (both 23). If there were areas to improve in our backline, it would be the right handside. On that side, we have Bellerin who has always flattered to deceive since his injury, and Holding who is solid, but perhaps not the kind of centre back you can expect to win titles with.
We have already heard that Arteta is really keen to replace Bellerin with Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey. Now it’s been reported that Arteta and Edu have identified Konate as their new centre back. The 6″4 French powerhouse has been plying his trade for RB Leipzig and has been very impressive in the last couple of seasons. He is good with the ball at his feet, very strong and wins pretty much everything in the air.
However, these qualities will not come cheap. He has a market value of £35 million, but a release clause of £45 million. As such, it might well be the case that Arsenal must pay more than they ever have for a defender to bring him to the Emirates.
I think he is a top class defender and would settle into the pace of the Premier League quite well. Leipzig play a really high intensity game, meaning he is very used to building from the back and driving into midfield with the ball at his feet.
My only concern is where the money will come from, and whether it would not be better spent in other positions. Arsenal currently have Gabriel, Holding, Luiz, Mari and Chambers all at the club, with youngsters Saliba and Mavropanos set to return to the club in the summer. Arsenal have left themselves with a lot of centre backs, but not many that stand out as top class centre backs. A lot of them are only really good enough to be understudies at a club like Arsenal.
I’m still hopeful Saliba can come good for Arsenal and am intrigued to see what Mavropanos can offer us. I would not sign Konate at the expense of signing another big player in the summer like Aouar, but if we move on players like Luiz and Chambers I would love to see Konate come into our back 4.
Tierney x Gabriel x Konate x Lamptey would be a phenomenal back four and would last about 10 years
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