The January transfer market window already looks to be in mid-season form, just days into the month. Yesterday, we looked at if it would make sense for Arsenal to pursue Adrien Rabiot and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s status after being linked with a January transfer request. But as everyone knows, the main issue is the Arsenal backline.
Meet Juventus centerback Daniele Rugani. Arsenal were loosely linked with a deal for Rugani this past summer, before finally opting for David Luiz as the CB addition to start the season. Now that the Gunners find themselves in an even greater need for centerback help following Calum Chambers injury, the reports connecting with the club with Rugani are back. We can’t speak to the confidence of the source, but it’s worth evaluating the player and the potential deal.
The 25-year-old Daniele has been on Juventus’ books since 2013, splitting that time between his parent club and Empoli, racking up over 100 Serie A appearances and 40 in Serie B. Rugani has seven caps for the Italian National Team, but after four straight years of at least 15 appearances for the Serie A champions, he has been sidelined under new manager Maurizio Sarri, playing just once this season.
Would the move make sense for Arsenal?
He fits the age profile the Gunners could use at the moment. Sokratis and David Luiz are 30 and over. Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding are younger, still needed more senior minutes to fully develop. Leaving the two centerbacks in the middle of their careers Calum Chambers (out for the year) and Shkodran Mustafi. And no one thinks Mustafi is the answer to any of Arsenal’s defensive problems. At 25, and a wealth of senior level experience, Rugani would be an ideal candidate for Mikel Arteta.
Rated around $22m by Transfermarkt, if Arsenal could get him this January for under $30m it might be a move worth making. If he works out and over the summer Luiz and Mustafi move on, that would leave Arsenal with a centerback core of Sokratis, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, William Saliba, Daniele Rugani, and Konstantinos Mavropanos. Chambers would be the second oldest CB at the club.
If the Arsenal board are unsure, they could perhaps convince Juventus into a loan deal for the rest of the season with a set price to buy Rugani in the summer. Arsenal need a CB - now. Preferably one who has enough experience to start immediately, but still has years ahead of him to develop under the new manager. And at a reasonable price for such a profile in this escalating market, Rugani seems to fit the bill.