16 July 2015

Arsenal make £15m bid for Juventus defender...

According to Forza, we've made an aggressive bid for Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani only to have it rejected. The 20-year old spent the season on-loan to Empoli, playing all 3,420 minutes of the season without getting booked once. Rumours that Rugani might be brought in to mentor Flamini have been scuppered...for now. At first blush, it might seem odd that we'd pursue yet another centre-back when we have Koscielny, Mertesacker, and Gabriel, plus Debuchy and Chambers as makeshifts. Then again, Kos, Per, and Debuchy are getting long in the tooth, and at least a few of our signings have to be made with an eye to the longer term—that is, beyond the upcoming season.

For all of our beaming over Mertesacker, we've long known that he's slower than a pregnant turtle. Unlike a pregnant turtle, there is no point in the foreseeable future when Mertesacker will possibly accelerate. We'll have to start phasing him out sooner rather than later. Perhaps more tragically, we do have to keep at least one eye on the end of Koscielny's time. While younger and sprier than his partner, Kos might decline more rapidly (proving once again that there's nothing Mertesacker can do faster than someone else does) because of how much he depends on anticipation, pace, and mobility to get the job done.

It took Koscielny a good three to four years to become the centre-back we revere him to be. When he signed, he was just shy of his 25th birthday. He's now among the best centre-backs in the Prem, and he still probably has three or four years left in him. However, we can hardly wait for Kos to enter his decline before securing reinforcements. If Rugani is as good as advertised, we'd be wise to swoop for him now rather than wait a few years when his fee and wages spike. If Rugani were to join Arsenal, he might spend the upcoming season training with the squad, then goes out on loan for part of the next, and becomes a backup or starter three years from now.

Picture it: Mertesacker is gradually phased out while Gabriel works his way in. Chambers is groomed as the "holding" centre-back alongside the more-forward playing Koscielny or Gabriel. A player like Rugani, who brings intelligent positioning and imposing physique, could offer our other defenders a bit more freedom to roam. Should we secure his services, we could see a smoother transition in defense over the next three to four years.

For those with a nostalgic bent, the pursuit of Rugani hearkens back to the earlier days of Arsène's approach to transfers, signing young, unproven players and nurturing them towards stardom. Even as so many of us are craving another galáctico-level signing for the upcoming season, it's well-worth remembering that Arsène is still looking out for the club's future, even beyond—gasp—his own reign.


  1. There is no truth about the story, Arsenal have so many defenders and I do not see them going for a defender. Most sports writer think money can be used where it is not supposed to be. If they buy another defender, what do they do with him? Other defenders are on already and you think they will buy another one. You should know by now what Arsenal is looking for not a defender.

  2. from what I've read, he's set to take over for Barzagli or Chiellini--both for the Nazionale as well as Juve. It would take more than 15m to pry him away.

  3. dont' be so sure. As John points out, several defenders are ageing and we'll have to replace them soon. Per and Kos are rocks but we have to constantly look for long term signings also. 15m is a pittance in this day and age. If Rugani is as good as they say, we'll be chanting his name for years.

  4. A logical argument but you forget that there is a difference between Gooner logic and Arsene logic. They rarely match and unlike a democracy where you have "one man, one vote" at the Emirates we have "one man with the only vote". Hence, AKB.

    We must hope in every transfer season that this proves correct. So far, in the past decade it gets us to the CL, two FA cups, but those seem much like kissing your sister or eating cannot without the filling. Both leave you feeling empty especially when you could afford or have the opportunity for much more and much better.

  5. Kelechi Okafor, this is just false sports news, there is no truth about it, and it will not happen, Wenger is not the kind of a person who can pay such huge amount for someone who need to be developed to suite his philosophy. If you look at Arsenal's reserve team, they have some very good defenders of the same age, so I do not see it happening, if Wenger were to buy, I want to assure you that, he will not buy a defender. He will look for as striker or midfielder who can help the striking force to be more aggressive.

  6. i think you're overstating it. It's a rumor, that's what silly season is. I don't think it's "false" bc John isn't saying we're definitely signing him, he's just saying the pursuit of a young CB makes sense.

    As for spending that much for a player who needs time, how is that different from signing Chambers for the same amount? He needs time to develop even if he's been in the Prem.

    and its not like signing someone like this guy prevents us from signing a striker. Some signings are meant to play right away, others are for the future. Clubs like Chelsea and Man U focus on the first kind.

  7. The difference is Chambers has been in the Premier League and when he joined Arsenal he went straight and has been used for quite a big numbers of games until January 2015 when they started using Bellerin. Also taking into consideration the number of defenders Arsenal have in their disposal, I cannot see it happening at all. Arsenal have so many young players for the future, hence they do not need to pay such a huge amount for a defender who need to be groomed again, they need to use that kind of money, to someone going to play straight away.


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