There are less than four weeks until the January transfer window opens. While Arsenal’s primary task will be how they handle Gabriel Jesus’ new injury, coming out of the World Cup break and sitting top of the Premier League there is a big opportunity to reinforce the squad. Beyond the need up top, the Gunners need to add depth in midfield and a center back, especially going into next season. The club has recently been linked with a young talent playing in Portugal’s top tier.
Player: Ibrahima Bamba, 20
Current Club: Vitória Guimarães SC in Liga Portugal, the top flight in Portugal. The club has finished between 5th and 7th the past few seasons. They are currently 6th in the league, just two points behind 4th place, Sporting CP.
International: Bamba has citizenship with both Italy, where he was born, and the Ivory Coast, but has yet to be called in by either country.
Position(s): Historically his primary role has been in midfield, specifically as a deep-lying defensive midfielder. However, earlier this season the right-footed Bamba has been playing as a centre back.
Potential Price: Estimated around $3.7 million by Transfermarkt. At the end of last season, his value was around $525,000 but has increased significantly after becoming a regular starter. Expect the price tag to continue to go up as the January transfer window approaches and next summer. However, Arsenal could likely land him in the $5-8 million range.
Arsenal Positional Depth (Defensive Midfield):
- Thomas Partey, 29, June 2025
- Mohamed Elneny, 30, June 2023
Arsenal Positional Depth (Center Back):
- William Saliba, 21, June 2024
- Gabriel, 24, June 2027
- Rob Holding, 27, June 2024
Arsenal Need: Moderate. Regardless of which position Mikel Arteta would play him, there is a need to add depth. In midfield, Elneny will likely exit this summer and it’s important to bring in younger midfielders with Xhaka, Elneny, and Partey all either 29 or 30. Albert Sambi Lokonga seems best suited as the more advanced midfielder in a duo. On the backline, if Ben White continues as the primary right-back that leaves a clear opening in the CB depth.
Final Verdict: Like Nuno Tavares, Fabio Vieira, and Lokonga, Ibrahima Bamba seems to follow a familiar trend we’ve seen from Edu & Arteta. A young player with plenty of development ahead of him and is flexible enough to fill multiple roles. Even if he doesn’t turn into a reliable Premier League-level talent, this could be a smart business move for Arsenal. They could sign him this January, allowing him to finish the season in Portugal, bring into the summer pre-season camp and allow him to either provide depth as Elneny exits or a loan.