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It’s time Arsenal pushed boat out again to sign coveted defender

| 01.05.2014

It’s a known fact that Arsenal are trying to shake their miserly tag when it comes to spending big on players, as was the case when shattering their transfer record to bring in Mesut Ozil last summer.

But if the Gunners are to bridge the gap from Champions League regulars to sustained title challengers, they ought to go all out to sign one of the best young defenders in Europe when the next window opens.

Athletic Bilbao’s 19-year-old defender Aymeric Laporte is part of a growing brood of highly accomplished French centre-backs and has been linked with a number of top clubs, including Arsenal.

However, latest whispers imply that so highly do they rate him, Barcelona are willing to activate a £29.5m release clause in Laporte’s current Athletic contract.

Although Wenger is a well-known scrooge when it comes to dusting off the club purse, out-bidding the likes Barca would issue a major statement of intent ahead of the new campaign.

As it stands, the Londoners look nailed on at 1/150 to qualify for a 17th consecutive Champions League campaign, but that is a fact which glosses over their need to spend big again this summer to challenge for top honours.

Despite his tender years Laporte has many frighteningly good defensive stats to back up his burgeoning reputation, such as making the most interceptions of any central defender in Europe’s top league’s this season.

His tackling accuracy and aerial-duals won are also up there with the cream of the continent, which has helped take his club to the cusp of Champions League qualification in La Liga.

While it’s common knowledge Arsenal require a top striker, they are also a little light in terms of centre-backs, especially if Thomas Vermaelen departs as well, leaving only Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.