As Per Mertesacker nears retirement, a replacement for the big German is expected to arrive next summer. Rumoured to be a young player, Arsenal will look to add yet another promising talent to their defensive core. With a squad overhaul likely on the way and the futures of both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil still uncertain, Arsenal have given Sven Mislintat a rather difficult task. Mislintat was appointed the new head of recruitment in November, having been lured away from Borussia Dortmund. Mislintat will have many gaps to fill next summer, one of which is finding Mertesacker’s replacement.
Who is Arsenal and Sven Mislintat Target Abdou Diallo?
Who is Abdou Diallo?
Mainz and France defender Abdou Diallo has been earmarked by Mislintat as an ideal addition to the squad. Diallo, 21, is a left-footed centre-back who is also capable of playing as a left back. A French Under-21, Diallo captains his national team and has proved for both club and country he has a nack of scoring goals. In 14 appearances for Mainz this season, he has found the back of the net on two occasions. A sensible and disciplined defender, Diallo is yet to be sent off, since joining the German club this past summer.
Fun Fact: After signing for Mainz, Diallo was given the No.4 shirt. A number that was once worn by Mainz legend and club hero Jürgen Klopp.
Previously with French Champions Monaco, Diallo played a small role in Leonardo Jardim’s side winning the Ligue 1 title last season. Playing just five times in the league, Diallo would also make one Champions League appearance. Signing a five-year deal with Mainz, Diallo is also good friends with now PSG star Kylian Mbappe. Diallo is said to have made the jump from France to Germany because of the quality of opposition. In an interview with Bundesliga.com, when asked about his move, Diallo had this to say:
“Well, I’ve played against Paris Saint-Germain before, and they’re not too bad! But yes, one of the reasons I came to Germany was to test myself against that level of players and teams.”
Mislintat’s Back Up Plan
Having joined Arsenal from Dortmund, it’s clear Mislintat is focusing on his old stomping ground. Abdou Diallo is reportedly a key target for Arsenal, but he’s not the only young Bundesliga star Mislintat has recommended. Wolfsburg centre-back Ohis Felix Uduokhai is a 20-year-old, making him the younger of the two options. Having played 16 times in all competitions this season, Udoukhai is a slightly different player to Diallo. Both left-footed defenders, both on five-year contracts and both talented; these are two players who despite having similar traits, have completely different playing styles.
Diallo is a pure defender, whether he’s playing central or on the left side of the back four. Whereas Uduokhai is a ball playing centre-back, who is even capable of slipping into the holding midfield role. This could make Uduokhai an attractive prospect, especially for a club like Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has done a good job bringing in young talent in recent years, we’ll have to wait and see if he can do it again.