Arsenal currently have only three central defenders registered for their squad this term in Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and captain Thomas Vermaelen.
However the Gunners are linked with several potential targets ahead of the January transfer window…
5) Cheikhou Kouyate
23-year-old Anderlecht centre-back and Senegal international Kouyate has been linked with interest from the North Londoners for a number of weeks now. His contract expires in 2016 so Anderlecht will be in no rush to let him go and he is presently valued around £7m.
4) Mattia De Sciglio
21-year-old Italian international De Sciglio is one of AC Milan’s most exciting prospects at present. The youngster would be the ideal understudy to the current first choice pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny whilst also representing an upgrade on Johan Djourou who has gone out on loan with a view to making a permanent move away from the Emirates.
3) Micah Richards
A little closer to home, Manchester City’s 25-year-old Englishman has suffered a torrid time with injuries over the course of his career. He has left the door open to speculation that he could move in January and with the World Cup next summer looking almost completely out of his reach perhaps a move to Arsenal could resuscitate his international career. His ability to play as a right back could also be a factor given that Bacary Sagna has still yet to sign a deal to take him beyond the summer.
2) Fabian Schar
Arsenal have also been linked with interest in the availability of 21-year-old Basel defender Schar whose contract expires in 2015. He’d be a cheaper option to De Sciglio and he doesn’t have the injury record of Richards.
1) Nicolas N’Koulou
Manager Arsene Wenger has been known to prefer to pick promising talent from his native France and this Cameroon international is undoubtedly one of the best centre-backs in Ligue 1 at present with the Gunners’ Champions League group stage opponents Marseille. At 23, he’s the perfect age to develop behind the first-choice pairing and still has enough experience the provide more than capable cover in case of injury or suspension and, although he’d be the most expensive of all the options above (£11.5m) he’d be the best option.
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