Arsenal were left to rue defensive errors as they were thrashed 5-1 by Liverpool to continue their woeful record at Anfield in recent years.
The Gunners simply couldn’t handle the ingenuity of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri in the Reds attack. Firmino danced his way past multiple defenders for his second while poor marking allowed Mane to fire home a tap in. Despite looking threatening in spells, it was Unai Emery’s below-par defence which cost them the points on Merseyside.
Indeed, Liverpool were in fine form, but there can be no excusing the performances at the back. Sokratis was poor throughout and Shkodran Mustafi pencilled in another abysmal defensive showing. If Arsenal are serious about challenging for the Premier League title, it’s vital that Emery plugs the holes in their rear-guard.
One man who could prove to be a fantastic addition is Fiorentina centre-back – Nikola Milenkovic. Valued at £31.5m by Transfermarkt, the defender forged a reputation as one of Serbia’s brightest prospects during his time with Partizan Belgrade and earned a move to Europe in the summer of 2017. Milenkovic is now an integral part of the La Viola first-team, however, the majority of his appearances have come at right-back. His versatility will be hugely attractive to Emery and the Arsenal scouting team.
The 21-year-old is immensely strong, meaning he should have no issues adapting to the physicality of the Premier League. Milenkovic is also a massive aerial threat, winning an impressive 3.1 aerial duels per game in the Serie A, which will help Arsenal deal with long balls as well as providing an option at set-pieces – the youngster already has two goals to his name. Still developing and improving, the Serbia international could be the long-term replacement for Koscielny in defence.
Fiorentina will demand a large fee for their star defender, but the price would definitely be worth it for a player of his quality.
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