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Transfer Rumor: Arsenal linked with Serie A right-back this summer

Who is the right backup (no pun intended) for Tomiyasu?

Juventus v Torino FC - Serie A Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

We’ve reached the finally international break for the 2021-22 season. Arsenal head into the pause on the back of a 1-0 win over Aston Villa, their sixth win in seven, and remain in control of fourth place in the Premier League. 10 matches to decide their final positioning in the table and mark how far the squad has progressed under Mikel Arteta.

And while the majority of the focus is on getting the squad back to full health and the upcoming fixtures, the summer tranfer window creeps closer into view. The Gunners have big decisions to make up top and in the midfield, but who complements Takehiro Tomiyasu is easily in the mix for top priorities this summer at Arsenal. Let’s take a look at one potential option circulating the rumor mills.

Player: Wilfried Stephane Singo, 21

Current Club: Torino. At the start of 2019 he moved from Ivorian club AS Denguélé into Torino’s academy. After half a season with the U19s he joined their senior side in Serie A that summer. Over the past two years Singo has made 66 appearances in the Italian top flight, netting five goals and providing seven assists. The club currently sits 11th in the table, comfortbly safe from relegation but well off the pace for European football.

International: He played in all four of Ivory Coast’s Olympic matches last summer, helping them advance out of the group stage before losing to Spain in the quarterfinals. Prior to that, he was called into the senior squad for a pair of friendlies last summer, starting both. Singo wasn’t used in Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualification matches of AFCON, but could work his way into the first choice squad in the coming years.

Position(s): Singo has been playing primarily as a right midfielder for Torino, but has experience as a right-back and central defender over the past few seasons. If Arteta were looking to switch to a 4-3-3 more often with Partey at the base, Singo would likely start off as the backup for RB and RM. Otherwise, he should be able to easily slot into place as the alternative for Tomiyasu.

Potential Price: Estimated around $17 million, which is right around the max amount Arsenal are probably looking to spend this summer on another right-back. If they could find a buyer for Cedric (perhaps England, Spain, or Italy) for even $5-10m, that will help Arsenal chase their ideal selection for this role.

Arsenal Positional Depth:

  • Takehiro Tomiyasu (23, starter, contract runs through 2025)
  • Cedric Soares (30, backup, contract runs through 2024)
  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles (24, backup but primarily seen as a midfielder now, contract ends this summer, 2022)
  • U23s - Zak Swanson (21), Jordi Osei-Tutu (23), Brooke Norton-Cuffy (18), & Ryan Alebiosu (20).

Arsenal Need: Moderate. Technically Arsenal have plenty of options at right-back to handle the additional matches that Europe brings. Especially if you factor in Maitland-Niles (I know there’s a sub-5% chance he returns to that role) and the academy players breaking through to the senior team. However, Arteta will want someone he feels can start and compete at in the Premier League and be competitive in the Champions League group stage matches. Cedric, AMN or a youth player, won’t bring that confidence and after surging from 8th to potentially 4th, the ambition will be higher to bring in a new right-back.

Final Verdict: A consideration (30-50%). Financially Singo fits into the right price range Arsenal will be willing to spend to reinforce that position. Profile wise he looks like a good option as well, young with Serie A experience and the chance to move into the Ivory Coast national team eventually. His flexibility to play right back and midfielder is probably attractive to Edu and Arteta. The concern would be is he ready to start Champions League matches or in the Premier Leauge when Tomiyasu is saved for European action? Like Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga, how ready are they right now versus needing an extra season or two to fully develop into the player Arsenal needs?