Arsenal are reportedly eyeing a cut-price deal to sign FC Basel defender Eder Balanta, who is available for a fee of £4 million in the summer transfer window.
Daily Mirror claim Arsenal are looking towards a potential bargain to beef up their backline. The Gunners are keen to add a central defender to their ranks and have seemingly locked their eyes on FC Basel defender Eder Alvarez Balanta, who is available for a paltry £4 million as per the report.
Eder Balanta was one of the top rated young prospects of his generation back in his homeland. The defender joined River Plate in 2011 and spent five years at the club honing his craft before finally deciding to move to Europe when FC Basel came calling. Heavily praised during his tenure at River Plate, Balanta has continued to impress upon his move to Europe.
The Colombian international has bagged three trophies with FC Basel during his three-year association with the club so far. But, with a year left on his deal, the centre-back is keeping his options open, which has given Arsenal a window to swoop in and land the centre-back.
Arsenal have only themselves and their error-prone defence to blame for a shoddy finish to what was otherwise looking like a brilliant first Premier League season under Unai Emery. Sokratis is the only one to have impressed the manager, with Shkodran Mustafi proving to be completely unreliable, owing to his tendency to make costly errors.
Laurent Koscielny has been struggling with injuries and fitness issues and while Nacho Monreal has done well in a central role, the Spaniard himself is not a shoe-in to be an Arsenal player beyond the summer transfer window. Also, another area that the Arsenal backline has struggled in is dealing with pace, which is perhaps, down to the ageing presence of their central defenders.
This will be something that Emery will look to address in the summer transfer window, which makes Balanta an ideal fit. A scout report by Sky Sports in 2015 attributed pace as one of Balanta’s strongest points, along with his tackling ability. Balanta being available for just £4 million though, is perhaps the biggest motivator in Arsenal’s pursuit of the 26-year-old.
A move for Balanta would make sense given the fact that the Arsenal board will not be handing out a lavish budget to Unai Emery to reinforce all areas that require additions along with the need to replace the ones that are leaving.
Balanta had always been billed to be at the top of the footballing pyramid. While he hasn’t done so, he is still only 26 and can offer Arsenal the best years of his footballing career.
There is little reason to say this rumour will not become a reality. If Arsenal’s interest is genuine, bar entry of other clubs, the Gunners are primed to land the 26-year-old Basel star in what could be one of the bargains of the upcoming season.