While the world waits for Covid-19 to slow and life can slowly begin to return to some semblance of normal, the future of Arsenal continues to drive speculation. Earlier today we looked at the connection to Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey. But the Gunners need several transfers this coming summer to help Mikel Arteta push towards a return to the Champions League.
One spot every Arsenal fan knows has been in need of assistance for the past few years is the back line. Last summer the club added Kieran Tierney (who has been often injured) and David Luiz (who has been up and down throughout his first year at the club). In the winter Arsenal brought in Pablo Marí, who looked solid in his debut, and Cedric Soares, who was carrying a known injury. So one guesses he might be someone they expect to sign for free in the summer as backup to Hector Bellerin.
Finally, there is William Saliba, who continues to play on loan at Saint-Étienne but is a prospect the club hopes is a future centerpiece in the back. Saliba will be 19 when is arrives in London this summer. The Daily Mail is now suggesting that Arsenal may be looking at adding Issa Diop from West Ham this summer. Adding a defender from a side who have let in 50 league goals so far this season, doesn’t sound ideal, but let’s take a look at the player and Arsenal’s CB depth next season.
Diop is 6’4” and still only 23 but has 56 appearances in the Premier League already. He joined West Ham ahead of the 2018-19 season from FC Toulouse where he earned nearly 100 appearances in Ligue 1. Across those two top flights the towering centerback has already scored 11 goals, including a header against Liverpool this season (see the video below). At the international level he has featured for every age group U16 through U21, but has yet to earn his first senior cap for the reigning World Champions. Diop would have been in camps and trained through those teams with Arsenal’s William Saliba.
Transfermarkt has Diop’s value estimated at $38.50 million, but to make that move Arsenal have to address their growing stable of CBs. Right now the Gunners have David Luiz (contracted through 6/21), Sokratis (6/21), Shkodran Mustafi (6/21), Rob Holding (6/23), Calum Chambers (6/22), Konstantinos Mavropanos (6/23), the recent loaning & presumptive signing of Pablo Marí, and finally the incoming William Saliba (6/24).
Diop’s price isn’t a deterrent, and his profile could fit in helping Arteta rebuild Arsenal and lower the average age. Decisions would need to be made not only about which senior CBs to move on (Luiz, Sokratis or Mustafi), but also which younger CBs have a realistic future at the club (Holding, Chambers & Mavro).
Leave us your thoughts on whether or not Arsenal should pursue Issa Diop in the comment section below. If so, which CBs need to be moved the summer to clear the way for a player like him and the incoming Saliba.