Another exciting scouting report on the best left-backs in world football by @mike_mmcdonald.
The Full Backs dilemma (Part 2: Left Back)
I hear today that Napoli and Roma are interested in Sead Kolasinac.
At first it seems insanity to consider selling him with Tierney out for 3 months but maybe not…
Kolasinac has proved to be part of the problem more than part of our future solution.
Excels in pre-season then seems to flatline. Powers forward… stops.
Improved defensively but still slow to react to danger.
Considering he is on £120k, this may be the time to wave goodbye as I’m sure you could give his wages to a position more in need, and replace with a £40-70k guy.
If Saka is considered a real option then one of the options in this blog may end up being a reality.
Before we start the profiles allow me to make you nauseous again as I did by suggesting Ashley Young and Marcus Alonso, for there is another that’ll change your Christmas mood. His name is Danny Rose and he’s third choice under Mourinho down the road and he wants to play in the Euro’s I’m sure.
Danny Rose on loan. Sorry!
Young and promising
Name: Malang Sarr
Nationality: France U-21
Potential fee: £15M
About: Malang Sarr could fix two problems.
His primary position is left centre back which is arguably Arsenal’s biggest need. He is French and could form a formidable long term partnership with Saliba, speaking the same language.
Sarr is considered a generational talent and much like De Ligt, a natural leader in a generation of few.
An athletic, fast, ball-playing CB primarily.
Much like Upamecano, Sarr has formidable body strength.
Since switching to LB, he has suffered further forward when crossing but in a team whose attacking profile suits cutbacks, this isn’t a major concern.
His contract is up in June so we could get a short term left-back and a long term LCB for a small fee.
He is also playing out of position currently at Nice so the promise of a future as a CB option for a bigger club should appeal.
Name: Rayan Ait Nouri
Potential fee: 20M
About: I was unaware of Ait-Nouri until L’Equipe recently mentioned that a Top 6 PL team have bid for him.
Over the last 12 months, Juve, Real Madrid, Man City and Athletico Madrid have shown interest so I think this qualifies us to take a look.
Ait Nouri is a very modern left-back. Plays more like a converted winger as his feet dazzle.
Electric pace and supreme athleticism add to the excitement but young, raw and untested at the higher level makes such a large investment unlikely perhaps for a club in our financial situation.
Ait Nouri represents many on these lists. Young, inexperienced but full of potential. I think that the fee dictates the risk. £15M or under and Arsenal may press go. As we are currently a club trying to fix everything I’d be surprised if we go for a very young player from abroad.
Name: Owen Wijndal
Height: 5ft 9in
Club: AZ Alkmaar
Potential fee: £10M
About: A regular for the second-best team in Holland this season. Wijndal is a complete full-back with no obvious weaknesses bar experience.
He is good going forward and also solid defensively.
Wijndal has great stamina and has been a very consistent performer for AZ.
Players like Owen Wijndal are often the best bargains. They have the possibility to play for very strong national teams but due to the depth currently in the Dutch squad he has yet to breakthrough. If you can get a player who is good enough to play international football but is outnumbered you may get them for half the actual value.
Name: Jonas Hector
Height: 6ft 1in
Potential fee: 25M
About: Do you miss Nacho Monreal? If so, why?
Is it because he was so reliable? Because he was versatile, could play LB, LWB, CB.
Wish there was another like him?
Maybe there is…. Jonas Hector.
Hector is an uncommon modern player.
He has essentially played his whole career for Koln, even when they’ve been relegated. Had offers from Barcelona and Liverpool, but stayed.
A versatile and well-rounded player who has until recently been first choice for Germany even though he plays each year in the relegation zone.
An attacking midfielder in his youth, Hector still retains the in-game intelligence that first caught Cologne’s eye in summer 2010. Just look at where he has been deployed for club and country since: on the left wing, in defensive midfield, at centre-back and, for the most part, in his now favoured role on the left-hand side of defence.
Jonas Hector catches my eye as a good option for Arsenal as he checks many of the boxes needed as well as having the (rare) added benefit of being two-footed and a goal-scoring threat from left back.
A smart guy off the field who is currently studying for his business degree.
Arsenal are in need of leaders and reliable senior players. Koln captain Jonas Hector, could be the solution.
Out of favor, experienced options
Name: Ricardo Rodriguez
Height: 5ft 11
Club: AC Milan
Potential fee: £20M (loan possible)
About: There has always been something about Ricardo Rodriguez that’s bothered me.
I’m not a fan necessarily but his status as an out of favour player at struggling AC Milan makes me wonder whether he may be a loan option for Arsenal.
He will make the Swiss squad for the Euros but he may be concerned that he will lose his starting place.
RR has a distinctive hunched body shape when he plays that bothers me on an aesthetic level as I prefer players that have better field vision.
A similar player to Kolasinac with just one foot, good feet but not great, good going forward but not great and a good defender but again, not great.
Not a ringing endorsement, but I don’t have to approve for me to know that Arsenal are far more likely to attempt to solve their full back issues with loans and that this is a realistic option.
Name: Marcel Schmelzer
Height: 5ft 11
Potential fee: £15M (loan possible)
About: Much like Rodriguez, Marcel Schmelzer becomes a possible option as he is currently behind both Schultz and Guerreiro at Dortmund.
A former captain of Dortmund and a stalwart at left back for many years, Schmelzer’s form has recently dropped yet he is still considered an important member of the Dortmund squad due to his decade long service and the hope that he can regain his pace, tenacity and stamina that saw him hold down the left side for years.
Like Rodriguez, he is not a choice I’d go with but understanding that we may just need a body and that the club are looking for senior players that care and can lead on or off the field, then Schmelzer becomes a candidate.
There are others to consider.
Wendell at Bayer Leverkusen, Kurzawa at PSG and if City are looking for a left back upgrade then at least one of Mendy, Zinchenko or Angelino will leave.
I’d love to consider Chilwell but why buy Tierney if you are going to buy Chilwell.
My best guess is Arsenal will look at a loan and most likely Ricardo Rodriguez.
What would I do?
If Aubameyang can be persuaded to stay I’d go for Jonas Hector.
We need senior players with true leadership and better mentality.
If Aubameyang insists on going, I’d persuade Real Madrid to give us Achraf Hakimi in part exchange and use him at Left Back until Tierney is back, then play him instead of Bellerin at right back long term.
What would you do?