Arsenal's Centre-Back Transfer Targets
VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 12: Eric Bailly of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League match between Valencia v Manchester United at the Estadio de Mestalla on December 12, 2018 in Valencia Spain (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)

The winter window will open soon and, considering the state of the Gunners’ back line, it could not come too quickly. Three major injuries have rocked the club’s defensive ranks in 2018, plus some of the players are getting on in years. That means it is time to consider Arsenal‘s centre-back transfer targets.

Arsenal’s Centre-Back Transfer Targets: January 2019

Fernando Calero

The Real Valladolid man has impressed this season in La Liga. While his club sit in 12th with just five wins, they have only shipped a respectable 15 goals in 15 matches this season.

Fernando Calero started 14 of those games and is still just 23-years-old. The Valladolid native could also leave his current club at a very reasonable cost as he has a £10 million release clause in his contract.

So, with all this in mind, it is easy to see why a number of clubs throughout Europe are interested in Calero. Alongside Arsenal, Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund are both rumoured suitors.

With the player still young, in good form and commanding a reasonable release clause this move would make sense for the Gunners. The only possible stumbling block would be the other interested parties and Calero’s willingness to move in January.

Eric Bailly

The 24-year-old Ivorian probably feels like the forgotten man at Old Trafford right now. Jose Mourinho has shown little faith in the defender this season, following an injury-marred campaign last time out as well as some less than stellar performances.

Eric Bailly‘s contract is also becoming an issue for Manchester United. The player’s current deal extends to the summer of 2020, which is looming on the horizon in just over 18 months’ time.

With just nine appearances across all competitions this season, a move away seems right for Bailly. With just 18 months left on his contract, a move away seems right for the club. The only questions are where will he go, when will he go and for how much?

The Red Devils will no doubt wish to recoup their £30 million investment in the player, especially if selling to a domestic rival. Eric Bailly will also likely attract interest from other large clubs throughout Europe.

This transfer is far from a sure thing, but certainly worth investigating from an Arsenal perspective.

Mario Hermoso

Hermoso joined Real Madrid at the age of ten in 2005. However, the defender couldn’t play his way into the first team, leading to a transfer to Espanyol in 2017.

Since then, Mario Hermoso has made quite a name for himself. This season, the 23-year-old has helped his side to five clean sheets already and received his first cap for the Spanish national team.

The Sun reports that Arsenal are considering a £35 million offer for Hermoso, however, may have to contend with the Galacticos.

Real Madrid have a buy-back clause from the deal which sent him to Espanyol, so should Florentino Perez want the player back, he could be acquired for less than the Gunners are willing to offer.

The player has talent, no doubt, but more than any other of Arsenal’s centre-back transfer targets, Hermoso seems unlikely to move to the club. His transfer fee would be larger than Caldero, and perhaps Bailly as well, plus the Galacticos could easily undercut the Gunners.

Expiring Contracts

With Rob Holding out for the balance of the season, Arsenal could possibly purchase a centre-back meant only for the short term. None of Bailly, Caldero or Hermoso are over the age of 24, meaning they would be long-term options for the Gunners.

There are, however, a number of older players currently on contracts which expire in the summer who could be gotten for a bargain price.

Gary Cahill

The Chelsea captain must really be feeling blue this season. He’s gone from one of the first names on the team sheet in recent seasons to making just seven appearances in all competitions this term.

Being 32, Gary Cahill would also only receive a one-year contract should he remain at Stamford Bridge. So, it is logical to think he could leave Chelsea in January.

With the defensive issues at Arsenal yet unresolved, Cahill could give them a boost this season. However, the club would have to secure the player at a low transfer fee and relatively reasonable wages for the deal to make sense.

Diego Godin

The oldest of Arsenal’s centre-back transfer targets, the Atletico Madrid man seems to age like fine wine. While his upcoming 34th birthday may discourage an approach, this is another player whose quality would help the fight for a top-four finish.

He is also, for the first time in recent memory, not first-choice for Diego Simeone. Godin has made just 13 appearances across all competitions this season. His previous season-low was 30 in his first season in the Spanish capital.

However, as the eldest possible target, his signature would come with the most risk.

Toby Alderweireld

One of two Tottenham centre-backs on expiring contracts, Toby Alderweireld has seemed close to a north London exit for months now. However, two things would stand in the way of the Belgian moving to the Emirates.

First, quite obviously, the two clubs hate doing business with each other. William Gallas is the last player to cross the divide and he is still loathed almost universally in north London.

Second would be Manchester United, who are known admirers of Alderweireld. Even in a weakened state, the Red Devils are still able to flex their financial might and could outbid nearly any other club.

The player is still just 29, however, so if a cut-rate price can be gotten, Arsenal would have a solid defender for a few years at least.

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