t’s safe to say that Arsenal are in need of a new centre-back this summer, or two.
After a season where the Gunners made it three years in a row without Champions League qualification, it’s now clear that something major needs to be done at the club this summer if the north London side are to return to Europe’s elite competition, and one area of the squad that needs overhauling majorly is the defence.
With the second highest amount of goals conceded out of any side in the top-six and some truly woeful defensive performances from the defence as a collective as well as some horrific individual errors, it’s no surprise the fans and Unai Emery are keen to see changes to the backline this summer, and that looks to be what the course of action will be,
According to journalist Duncan Castle via the Daily Star, the Gunners are interested in Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, who only made 12 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils last season, and with Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny being touted with a move away from the club this summer according to Foot Mercato via the Sun, we believe the Ivorian centre-back would be the ideal man to replace the veteran Frenchman.
For starters, Bailly being just 25-years-old makes him the perfect player to fit in Emery’s plan of lowering the overall age of the Arsenal squad dramatically as the Gunners current average sits at 26 years and 5 months per talkSPORT, the seventh highest in the Premier League, and essentially swapping Koscielny for the United defender will more than reduce that number.
As well as age reduction, Bailly has shown over the past three seasons that he is more than capable of playing in the Premier League. Comparing his stats from his last full season in the Premier League, 2016/17, with Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling’s numbers this year and it is clear that the Ivorian, when given first-team football, can excel.
Looking at WhoScored, the former Villarreal man averaged more tackles, interceptions and clearances per 90 than both Lindelof and Smalling, as well as winning more fouls and completing more dribbles
Not many Arsenal fans like the idea of Koscielny leaving the club, but if a player like Bailly is available this summer, it could be a sacrifice worth taking for the long-term benefit of the Gunners.
Arsenal fans, would Bailly be a good replacement for Koscielny this summer? Let us know!
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