Arsenal fans got what they wanted when Arsene Wenger left the club at the end of last season. However, what they were denied was the transfer market spending called for by the masses. Instead, the Gunners spent prudently, signing players who filled gaps in their squad, but didn’t really improve the quality of their first team.
It’s likely to be a similar story this summer. There is no suggestion that Arsenal will spend big, with Sven Mislintat leaving the Emirates Stadium at the start of the month after a different of opinion over the direction of the club in the transfer market. That isn’t to say the Gunners can’t improve their side this summer, though.
Nathan Ake is one of the players who should be on Arsenal’s transfer targets shortlist. The Bournemouth defender is exactly the sort of defender Unai Emery needs and there is a suggestion that a bid of between £40 million and £50 million might be enough to prise the Dutchman from the grips of the Cherries.
The 24-year-old has been in exceptional form this season. Ake is strong on the ball, is a good tackler and maintains a high level of concentration. He is no Shokdran Mustafi, that’s for sure. Indeed, Ake would be an upgrade on what the Gunners currently have in their defensive ranks.
There’s a case to be made that Ake is among the best centre backs in the Premier League right now and Arsenal desperately need someone of his ilk to build around. It’s crucial that they look to make defensive improvements as they enter the second phase of Emery’s project at the club.
“People have more expectations of me now because of the season I had… so there is a new step, a new thing I have to overcome and cope with the expectations,” Ake said in a recent interview. “I need to learn and cope with that and after that, who knows… you always want to reach the highest levels.”
Arsenal simply aren’t strong enough at the back. Sokratis Papastathopoulos has proven himself as a decent option, but injuries have been a problem for the Greek defender. Rob Holding has also impressed at times, but consistency has been an issue. Ake would be a kingpin in the way Virgil Van Dijk is for Liverpool and Aymeric Laporte is for Manchester City.
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