ESPN pundit Steve Nicol has revealed his belief that Arsenal should move for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani to help shore up their porous backline.
The Gunners conceded 51 goals in 38 Premier League games last season, giving them the second worst defensive record of the top nine sides in the standings.
In order to compete at the top end of the table, they simply have to address that glaring weakness, especially with question marks hanging over Laurent Koscielny this summer after he opted against travelling with the squad on their pre-season tour, as per the club’s official site.
Arsenal confirmed the signing of William Saliba this week, but the talented youngster has returned to Saint Etienne on loan for the 2019/20 campaign, and so Unai Emery is still in need of a more immediate solution to his problem.
As noted by the Express, Arsenal have been linked with a move for Rugani this week and his agent has left the door open to a potential exit from Juventus given the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral this summer coupled with the ongoing presence of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
Opportunities to play may be limited for Rugani, and so Nicol believes that a move to north London could be a good solution for all concerned.
“Arsenal no question need help at centre-back,” he told ESPN FC, as quoted by the Express. “He probably is [better than what Arsenal have] but he’s 24 and he hasn’t had a lot of football in the last couple of seasons.
They’re in a position where they have to gamble. They can’t afford to go out and sign a recognised centre-back and spend a lot of money on them.
“I guess, at the end of the day, Rugani is a gamble. But it’s a good gamble.
“He’s going to be a hit [if he joins Arsenal].”
Time will tell if Emery agrees with that assessment and whether or not Rugani is identified as the ideal solution.
Nevertheless, what is clear is that he can ill-afford to go into the campaign relying on Sokratis, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Konstantinos Mavropanos and potentially Koscielny given that group weren’t able to provide a solid foundation previously, albeit injuries took their toll too.