According to a recent report from The Daily Mirror, Arsenal are interested in a move for defender Eric Bailly. The 24-year-old currently plays his football at fellow Premier League giants Manchester United and has done so since leaving Villarreal back in 2016, although a lack of regular game time under Jose Mourinho in recent times has called his future at the club into question.
And reports suggest that Unai Emery’s Gunners are eyeing up a move for the £27 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), but with Toby Alderweireld’s future at Tottenham far from certain and Spurs themselves having been linked with Bailly, Mauricio Pochettino’s side must be prepared for the former’s departure by beating Arsenal to the latter.
Ultimately, Emery’s Gunners look set to bring another centre back to the Emirates Stadium in the New Year following the recent injury to Rob Holding, as the Englishman had begun to deliver the goods on a regular basis for the North London giants to underline how big his absence will be to Emery’s side.
And while Laurent Koscielny is nearing a return to first team action after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, one senses that, if Arsenal are serious about bridging the gap to the top sides and thus returning to the Champions League next term, further defensive reinforcements are needed come January – Bailly could fit the bill.
But Spurs themselves could face something of a problem given Alderweireld’s uncertain future, which is why they must seek to beat the Gunners to Bailly’s signature.
Belgium international Alderweireld has been outstanding for Spurs ever since making the move to North London back in 2015, with the 29-year-old becoming one of the best centre backs in the Premier League during his time at the club.
Yet his future appears to be away from North London given his contract is up in the summer, and while there is the option of a one-year extension, it would reportedly bring a £25 million release clause into play – a figure that simply isn’t befitting of the calibre of player Alderweireld is.
And while Juan Foyth has shown glimpses of promise in the first team in recent times, it’s pretty clear that losing Alderweireld would leave a huge void in Pochettino’s backline – a void that could be filled by United’s Bailly.
The 24-year-old may not have enjoyed the best of times since moving to Old Trafford back in 2016, but there have been plenty of moments of brilliance from the centre back to suggest that he could go on and become a hugely adept Premier League defender.
The Ivory Coast international instantly became one of Mourinho’s first-choice centre backs upon arrival at the club, appearing 38 times in his first season at Old Trafford, although niggling injury problems alongside a lack of form has since seen him plummet down the pecking order – a pecking order which isn’t overly strong as it is.
But under the stewardship of Pochettino, who has improved several players during his time at Tottenham and indeed Southampton, Bailly may well be able to develop into the centre back his talent suggests he can be – there may be too much baggage at United for that to happen at Old Trafford.
And with Spurs facing the very real prospect of losing Alderweireld in the near future, Tottenham must be prepared for his exit by beating North London rivals Arsenal to Bailly’s signature.
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