Given the restrictions on Arsenal’s finances in light of the coronavirus crisis, a move for Malang Sarr would certainly make sense.
Only 21, with 119 appearances for Nice under his belt, Sarr fits the right profile in that he is young, has room for improvement and is likely to appreciate in value over the next few seasons. More importantly, he would make for a low-cost signing given that his contract at Nice expired last month and he is currently a free agent.
Speaking after Arsenal’s 2-1 victory against Liverpool in midweek, Mikel Arteta gave the latest indication that he may be working on a tight budget this summer.
“It’s a big concern,” he told Sky Sports.
“You can see how [Liverpool] build their squad and there is no magic, you need to improve the squad with quality, quality players. And we need a bigger squad to compete in this competition. That is the challenge.”
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Sarr certainly has quality and would add much-needed strength in depth at the back. Whether Arsenal will be able to finalise a deal to bring him to the Emirates is another question.
Two solutions for the price of one?
Though usually deployed as a centre-back, Sarr’s versatility is one of his main strengths. Before the Ligue 1 season was prematurely curtailed, he was occasionally used as a left-back by Nice manager (and Arsenal legend) Patrick Vieira and, while not necessarily as comfortable on the flank as he is in the centre, he earned enough cachet to deputise there.
Arteta needs viable alternatives in the centre of defence, with David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi both accidents waiting to happen and Sokratis seemingly out of favour. Though Arsenal have another talented French centre-back incoming in the form of William Saliba, he and Sarr could form an interesting partnership given that Saliba is right-footed and Sarr prefers his left.
Arteta could also do with cover at left-back, though Kieran Tierney is obvious first-choice. Sead Kolasinac has looked increasingly error-prone recently while Bukayo Saka seems destined to play further forward. As such, Sarr could fill two holes in the squad at once.
Will Arsenal be able to get a deal done?
While it all adds up in theory, Arsenal may find that Sarr has better offers elsewhere. According to Goal , there are clubs across Europe competing for his signature and, while Arsenal have held talks with Sarr’s representatives, they have not made a concrete offer.
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