It’s no secret that Arsenal’s defense has struggled for....well, quite some time. First under Arsene Wenger and now Unai Emery, the back line always seems to lack the correct personnel, tactics, and drive to give the club a solid defense week in and week out - not to mention an entire season.
This summer should be quite busy for Arsenal, in both directions. The Guardian is linking the club with signing Djene Dakonam this summer. Let’s take a look at that rumor.
Who is Djene Dakonam?
Dakonam is a 27-year-old defender for Getafe in La Liga. He joined the club two seasons ago for around $3 million. In 2017/18 the club finished 8th in Spain and this season look very likely to get the fourth Champions League spot in La Liga. Dakonam has 39 appearances for Togo.
What position(s) does he play?
He is a center back , although it’s his decision making and speed that make him attractive to Arsenal, not his size. Listed as 5’9” or 5’10”, he would be one of the small defenders on the back line. Dakonam made one appearance at right back last season and has played two matches as a defensive center midfielder this year.
How high of a priority is that position for Arsenal this summer?
Center Back -> Very High. Laurent Koscielny will turn 34 next season, Sokratis will be 31, and Nacho Monreal will turn 34. Shkodran Mustafi is, well, Shkodran Mustafi, and I’m sure everyone can agree it is time to move in a different direction. Konstantinos Mavropanos is too inexperienced to really judge just yet. This leaves just Rob Holding as the only CB to feel confident about for the next few seasons. This is likely priority #1 this summer for Arsenal.
What is Djene Dakonam valued at?
Transfermarkt has the CB valued at $17m, but the Guardian’s link lists a £30m ($39m).
Is he worth it, considering Arsenal’s budget?
Exactly how much money Emery and club have to work with this summer remains a mystery. There have been reports of as low as £40m, up to as high as £100m. That’s just right now - player sales will also add to that pile, but of course we don’t know by how much. For now, let’s work with a budget of £75m + players sold.
If Getafe make the Champions League they will not want to lose their starting center back - at least not for a serious fee. While he might be able to move on in the mid £20s, they’ll know Arsenal are in need. £28m is a reasonable guess at this point, nearly half of Arsenal’s budget. The Gunners need a player like Dakonam, but are most likely to get him if they sell Mustafi - oddly their most valuable CB, based on his age.
Verdict: Yes. Make the move, sell Mustafi this summer, and Arsenal fans can rejoice.