Arsenal are facing a shortage at centre-back following news that Rob Holding will miss the rest of the season with an injury.
The youngster was stretched off during the 2-2 draw with Manchester United last week and scans revealed Holding had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament. The news will come as a massive blow to Unai Emery as Holding had developed into a key player for the Gunners this season, making 14 appearances in all competitions under the Spaniard.
Holding joins Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Konstantinos Mavropanos on the treatment table at the Emirates leaving Emery with a huge selection dilemma in defence. Due to their injury problems, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former PSG boss target a new defender during the upcoming January transfer window.
The ideal addition to his squad could be former Barcelona defender – Marc Bartra. Valued at £19.8m by Transfermarkt, the Spaniard is back in La Liga with Real Betis after struggling to adapt to life in Germany with Borussia Dortmund. Despite his dreadful spell in the Bundesliga, Bartra has quickly rediscovered his best form in his homeland, scooping Betis’ Player of the Year award last season despite joining mid-way through the campaign. The 27-year-old’s impressive performances have continued into the new season which should make Arsenal take notice.
Bartra is an excellent defender who would add some stability to the Arsenal back four, averaging an incredible 2.7 tackles per game in La Liga. The defender also reads the game expertly, averaging 1.9 interceptions per game, as well as being a massive threat in the air, winning 2.3 aerial duels on average in Spain. As well as his defensive prowess, the Spain international also excels with the ball at his feet, completing 90% of his passes this season, meaning he would have no issue slotting into Emery’s system at the Emirates (WhoScored).
Landing Bartra in January could give the Gunners the boost they need to secure a return to the Champions League at the end of the season.
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