Arsenal have been actively looking to sell their club captain this transfer window. But, the recent reports coming in do dampen the mood for fans and all around the club. Laurent Koscielny has reportedly snubbed the chance to go on the pre-season tour and is asking for a mutual termination of his Arsenal contract in order to move on.
Now, while the situation might be awry, Arsenal will need to let go of their captain, either by selling him to another club or agreeing to his wish. Nevertheless, a replacement is needed. William Saliba is reportedly a done deal for Arsenal. But, the youngster is set to be loaned back to Saint-Etienne for a year and even if he would have come, Arsenal need a new leader at the back.
So, we have compiled a list of three targets that Arsenal should look toward as serious options to bring in to be the new leader at Emirates. Considering Arsenal’s shrunken transfer budget, thanks to no Champions League football, we present to you three names.
Jamaal Lascelles – Newcastle United
There is just something mercurial about the way Jamaal Lascelles performs on the pitch. Representing the Magpies in the Premier League for the last two seasons, Lascelles has been the difference-maker, with his vocal leadership and stout defensive skills steering Newcastle clear of relegation in the 2017-18 season.
The aforementioned season saw Lascelles score 3 goals; but what was even more impressive was that the 3 goals saw Newcastle pocket 7 points, without which Rafa Benitez and his men could have been in real danger of being relegated. Ultimately, it did not matter as the Magpies were 11 points clear by the end of the season.
But, in the grand scheme of things, these points may very well have been the saving grace for Newcastle. Top clubs need a leader at the back that can be the difference on either end when it matters.
Manchester United had Rio Ferdinand, Arsenal had Sol Campbell and more recently, we see Liverpool having Virgil van Dijk while Vincent Kompany might have won Manchester City the Premier League title with his goal against Leicester City. Defenders like the ones mentioned in this paragraph not only win you points with their defence but have a knack for coming up big when the team needs it.
Lascelles is one such man and with the recent turmoil at Newcastle, he could be tempted to move on to better things, especially with Arsenal able to provide first-team football and European football as well. Valued by transfermarkt at £15 million, we reckon Arsenal could get their man somewhere around £25 million.
Only 25, Lascelles would be a great long-term addition and could be the leader they are desperately searching for.
Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham
Talking about £25 million and a leader, who could be a better option than Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian has been indomitable for Arsenal’s local rivals Tottenham and is available for £25 million. Alderweireld would love to continue playing in the Premier League and perhaps, be a part of another rebuilding project in London, albeit this time for Arsenal.
Alderweireld has 142 appearances in the Premier League and has been playing at the very top level in world football for more than half-a decade now. At 30, he would not be a long-term option for Arsenal but one that can steer the club into a steady direction, by which time, perhaps, Saliba can take over the reins.
Close to a 100 caps for Belgium, Alderweireld would be the perfect man to lead Arsenal back into the top-four and the title race within the next two-three years as Unai Emery slowly starts his rebuilding job at Emirates.
Also, spiting Tottenham fans would be a bonus sight for Arsenal fans, who have seen boyhood Arsenal fan Harry Kane tear it apart for their local rivals. If Alderweireld is interested in a move to Arsenal, there is no reason why Unai Emery should not direct the board to go after the Belgian.
Gary Cahill – Free Agent
This might be a wildcard. We were genuinely thinking of Lewis Dunk. But, the player is likely to cost more than our considered budget of £25 million to replace Koscielny. So, we have decided to go with a player who understands what it needs to be successful, has tasted success on all forefronts and has been a leader for Chelsea – Gary Cahill.
Now, Cahill might only be a short-term addition at Arsenal. But, the defender has a fighting attitude that saw him be vocal about not being privy to game time under Maurizio Sarri. Despite it all, Cahill did his job whenever provided an opportunity and did more than anyone else had imagined when Chelsea signed him from Bolton.
Almost 350 appearances in the Premier League, with eight trophies accumulated with Chelsea, Gary Cahill might be 33 but he showed he has not lost his touch whenever he took to the field in the 2018-19 campaign. This might be the safest and best replacement for Laurent Koscielny.
This would confirm no outlay from the budget and would allow Emery to address other key areas to strengthen. The manager can then look to replace Cahill with someone younger next summer. Cahill will get to remain in London and compete for top honours while also helping Arsenal build a new core. A win-win for both parties.
All three options are worth taking a closer look. Who do you think Arsenal should look to bring in as their new leader at the back? Jamaal Lascelles, Toby Alderweireld, Gary Cahill or someone else? Tell us your thoughts below.