Arsenal have been keeping a close eye on Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam and will send scouts to watch him again this weekend
According to TuttoMercatoWeb, Arsenal scouts will be present at the match between Napoli and Atalanta this week in order to scout Faouzi Ghoulam, along with Lorenzo Insigne who the Gunners are reportedly set to open talks with.
Ghoulam, an Algerian international with 23 caps to his name, joined the Italian side from AS Saint-Etienne back in the winter transfer window of 2014 for a fee reportedly worth €5 million, and immediately became first choice under then-manager Rafael Benitez.
He was a success in his first six months in Italy and helped Napoli to a third-placed finish under the manager. He has since become one of the key members of the Partenopei and has been one of their most consistent performers this season.
He has made a total of 26 appearances Maurizio Sarri’s side this season and has picked up 7 assists. An attack-minded full-back, Ghoulam is a player who has impressive passing ability and often bombs forward and creates several chances for his side.
This season, he is registering an average of 1.37 key passes and 1.59 chances created per game per 90 minutes in the Serie A, according to Squawka. He also has an impressive pass completion rate which stands at an average of 87%.
The one area where he has been criticised is his tackling ability, but he is slowly starting to show that he is a solid defensive left back as well although there is room for improvement, with an average of 0.93 tackles, 0.88 interceptions and 2.46 clearances per 90 minutes in the Serie A.
Ghoulam has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea and it was reported earlier this month that Antonio Conte’s side would test the waters with a bid for Ghoulam in the summer after reports emerged that he was stalling on a new contract in Naples.
If TuttoMercatoWeb are to be believed, however, it appears that they will face competition from their fellow Londoners, Arsenal. The Gunners currently only have two recognised left-backs on their books in Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs.
At 30, it is unlikely Monreal has too many years left as Arsenal’s first choice and Kieran Gibbs – now 27 – has failed to impose himself despite graduating from the academy and signing his first professional contract with the club back in 2007.
At 26 years of age, Ghoulam is already an experienced player and has shown that he can perform at a high level consistently. With Gibbs’ future at Arsenal uncertain beyond this season, the Gunners could well be tempted to put in a bid for the Algerian should he impress their scouts.