Abdou Diallo is one of Arsene Wenger’s key targets for the January window, as the Gunners look to bring in another centre-back.
John Cross of the Mirror (stick with us, honestly) says Wenger plans to sign a defender for the first-team in January.
He claims Diallo is one of two on the Arsenal manager’s radar at the moment. The other is Jonny Evans whom Arsenal have reportedly made a second enquiry for. The Baggies want around £25m for him (down from £30m in the summer), a price that could force Arsenal to look more closely at Diallo.
The Gunners have already signed Konstantinos Mavropanos, a central defender from the Greek Super League. However, Wenger has clearly and repeatedly stated that the 20-year-old isn’t ready for the first-team just yet.
Instead, Arsenal will loan him out, potentially to a German side. He doesn’t fill the gap in the squad at the moment.
That gap is thanks to all the injuries and other issues at the back at the moment.
Per Mertesacker is retiring to take over the academy at the end of the season, and isn’t playing much right now. Shkodran Mustafi asked to leave over the summer. Mathieu Debuchy also says he wants to go in January, since he wants a new challenge. Nacho Monreal is injured, and Laurent Koscielny’s Achilles issue is playing up once again.
Rob Holding and Calum Chambers are in the team at the moment. However, Chambers looked very shaky against Chelsea on Wednesday, and they’re both still relatively inexperienced as centre-backs.
Could Diallo provide the answer?
Diallo is also very young, at 21, but he’s a regular in a top-five league. Mainz have given him 17 appearances this season, all of them starts. As we reported previously, he’s been in Kicker’s team-of-the-week consistently, so he’s playing well.
In fact, he’s been so good this season that Bundesliga.com published an article on Saturday focusing on his displays. They called him a “natural-born leader with an eye for goal” adding he’s a fast learner who just wants to be on the pitch as much as possible.
Another big positive in Arsenal’s pursuit of the centre-back is that he has experience in both of the Gunners’ current defensive systems. Wenger has switched between a three-man defence and a four-man defence this season, which can be unsettling for defenders. Diallo has experience of both this season, and he’s performed well either way.
As regular readers will know, we don’t often claim tips about transfers but ‘Daily Cannon understands’ [ha!] there might be more to this Diallo rumour than just the usual gossip that flies around during a transfer window.
We’re not saying it’s one that will definitely happen, rather, it’s one you should not dismiss as quickly as all the others and is certainly one to keep an eye on as the window progresses.