Arsenal are reportedly preparing a bid for Bayern Munich center-back Medhi Benatia, according to the French site RMC Sport. According to people who have actual memories of past transfer windows beyond "thank goodness that's over," the Gunners were heavily linked with Benatia in summer 2014. The 29-year-old instead moved from Roma to Munich, where he has become frustrated with his playing time of late. Although he played 22 games in 2014-15, Benatia played only 16 games last year. Arseblog News has a bit of a rundown on his career:
Born in France, the defender started his career at Marseille before dropping down to Ligue 2 Clermont. In 2010 he secured a free transfer to Udinese and after three years switched to Roma where he was fundamental to Rudi Garcia’s back four.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are apparently in the market for a center-back and the experienced Benatia might help to shore up what has been seen as a leaky defense in the last year. Despite keeping the most clean sheets in the Premier League in 2015-16, neither Per Mertesacker nor Laurent Koscielny are getting any younger. Mertesacker (turning 32 this falls) and Koscielny (turning 31 this fall) have previously been one of the most rock-solid pairings in the league but have fallen off a bit, with both their shortcomings seeming to be magnified in the last year. Moreover, January 2015 acquisition Gabriel has not covered himself in glory due to his seeming discomfort with the ball at his feet, but the upcoming addition of Granit Xhaka may provide him some reassurance. Calum "Hollister Cal" Chambers has looked good when he's been played at center-back, but his playing time has been puzzlingly lacking of late.
Many Arsenal fans have a center-back in their list of necessary acquisitions for the coming season along with a rock solid central midfielder and a clinical striker - and maybe a winger. Could Arsenal wrap up another transfer before the Euros and Copa America begin this summer? At this point, this looks like it could be an agent looking for a raise for his 29-year-old client, but the reliable (at least according to Arseblog) Get French Football News seems to believe there's something more. We will, as usual, have the updates as they come in. Watch this space.