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Is free agent Mario Yepes good enough to play for Arsenal?

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The Colombian defender is a free agent, and could be the answer to the Gunners' shortage at the back.

With just six established defenders in the squad for the remainder of the Premier League season, Arsenal seem to be in need of a new centre back.

Aside from Calum Chambers, transfer deadline day came and went without a new arrival in the centre of defence - and now Arsene Wenger could be looking to bring in a free agent.

Perhaps the best unattached player available is Colombia captain Mario Yepes. The 38-year-old veteran has been linked with a move to North London in the Colombian media, but with no Premier League experience over his 20-year career it is unclear whether he would be up to the challenge of playing in English football's top flight.

Yepes led Colombia to their best ever World Cup performance this summer, as they advanced to the quarter-finals before being beaten by hosts Brazil.

  AppsMinsTotal tacklesTackles wonInterceptionsAerial duels wonAerial duels lostPass accuracy (%)
Mario Yepes 4 360 15 10 9 3 3 84.38

The former Paris Saint Germain star showed his impressive ability to read the game throughout the tournament, tallying nine interceptions in four appearances, and ten successful tackles from fifteen attempts is a solid return for a centre back.

In Arsene Wenger's side it is imperative that every player is a good passer. Central defenders are required to routinely bring the ball up from the back and to initiate attacks, as opposed to simply lumping it up-field to the centre forward. Yepes's pass accuracy mark of 84.38% suggests he could easily fit in to the Gunners' philosophy in that sense.

As one would expect from a 38-year-old defender, pace is not Yepes's strong suit, and this is particularly worrying for a player who may be trying to adjust to the tempo of the Premier League. The English game is played at a different speed to that of Serie A, where Yepes has played for the past six years.

But the same questions were asked of Per Mertesacker when he joined Arsenal from Werder Bremen in 2011. The 6-foot-6 centre half has since proved himself as one of the Premier League's best defenders, and has formed a dominant pairing with Laurent Koscielny.

If Yepes does move to the Emirates Stadium he will not be expected to hit the heights that Mertesacker has. However, if he, like the German, can use his vast experience and defensive nous to cover up his lack of pace, the seasoned pro could still be a useful squad player as the Gunner looks to challenge for the Premier League title.

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