The towering Senegalese international defender, 23, has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs in recent times, with Norwich, West Bromwich Albion and even Chelsea monitoring his situation. And, with the January transfer window approaching, the Belgian side have admitted they could sell Kouyate.
‘We expect to keep our star players, but Kouyate could leave ’ said boss Herman Van Holsbeeck, according to Metro. ‘We know there is interest in him in the Premier League. If a suitable offer arrives he can leave.’
This admission is likely to serve as a boost to Arsene Wenger, with a £6m offer believed to be enough to secure the centre back, who can also play in holding midfield. Whilst Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have established a solid partnership in the heart of the Gunners defence, they are short behind those two, with Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen regularly injured and potentially on his way out of the Emirates Stadium.
Additionally, Kouyate could be a versatile option given his ability in midfield. Arsenal have been seeking a replacement for Alex Song in the holding midfield role, and whilst Mathieu Flamini's return has provided them with more physicality in front of the back four, his injury problems have reared their ugly head once again recently, and they have resorted to plugging Mikel Arteta into that role, which isn't ideal.
Kouyate admitted earlier this year that he would jump at the chance of moving to Arsenal, as he said: 'I am happy here but if Arsenal called me to go to London I would have no doubt about going. I hear they have asked for some information on me from the last few months.'
Wenger's famous ability of signing lesser-known players and developing them into key players – or saleable assets – would make Kouyate a sensible signing, and with his ability to play two positions where the Gunners struggle with injuries, he could be a valuable squad member. Still just 23, Kouyate has his best football ahead of him, and with the step up from Belgian football likely to be huge, Arsenal could allow him time to adjust to English football without placing high expectations upon him.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald