Arsenal have been urged to make a summer move for RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who is considered one of Europe’s best young defenders.
Injuries have limited the game time of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes recently. This has significantly impacted Arsenal’s title chances, hence the need for a new centre-back.
Mikel Arteta will be given money to spend this summer, so it will be interesting to see if he makes bolstering his backline one of his priorities.
Arsenal, as it stands, sit in second place in the Premier League table – four points behind Manchester City. Only a few weeks ago, Arteta’s side looked on track for their first title since 2004. However, it is now looking unlikely.
One of the key issues they’ve faced recently is the absence of Saliba. The Frenchman has been one of the Gunners’ most important players this season but has been ruled out since March with a back injury.
Now, Gabriel could potentially miss out on Arsenal’s crucial clash with Newcastle on Sunday. This could leave them with a centre-back pairing of Rob Holding and Jakub Kiwior, which is uninspiring, to say the least.
Clearly, it would make sense for Arsenal to add some quality depth to the centre-back position this summer.
Arsenal ‘should’ sign ‘perfect’ Gvardiol
Now, journalist Paul Brown has urged Arteta to sign Gvardiol, who he believes would be ‘perfect’ for Arsenal.
Speaking to GiveMeSport, he said: “They should go and get Gvardiol. I think he’d be perfect.
“Whether he’d go there, we don’t know. But Arsenal are going to be a Champions League team.
“They might win the league this season and will be an attractive club. Why not make an offer?”
As mentioned, Gvardiol is widely considered to be one of the best young defenders in Europe. This season, the 21-year-old has made 28 league appearances for Leipzig. In the process, he has helped his team to eight clean sheets.
Gvardiol particularly caught the eye playing for Croatia in the World Cup last year. Indeed, the defender played every minute of his country’s impressive run to the semi-finals.
As a result, he has caught the attention of several top clubs. For example, Liverpool, Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain have all registered an interest in Gvardiol.
The issue for all of them, though, is the Croatian’s monumental asking price. Gvardiol is under contract until 2027, so Leipzig are under no immediate pressure to sell.
But, they could be convinced if someone meets their price tag – which is believed to be in excess of £120m.
Interestingly, Gvardiol has a £97m release clause included in his contract, which becomes active in 2024. With that in mind, Arsenal could wait until next year to sign Gvardiol for a slightly cheaper fee.
However, the risk with that would be that other clubs may come in for the defender at that point, too. So, Arteta will have to weigh up whether to pay the money for Gvardiol sooner rather than later.