Arsenal Transfers: 5 Top Defenders Linked with the Gunners

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2013

Arsenal Transfers: 5 Top Defenders Linked with the Gunners

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    Arsenal will need to reinforce their defence this summer.

    This season, they have conceded 35 Premier League goals. It's a reasonable total, but still the highest among the top four. If Arsenal are to challenge for the title, they need to tighten up at the back.

    They could also be set to lose some of their existing defenders. Rumours are circulating over Bacary Sagna's future (The Guardian), while Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen are linked with Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively ( via The Express).

    Arsene Wenger will be on the look out for some top defenders this summer. Over the next few slides, we take a look at five candidates to fill Arsenal's defensive void.

Cheikhou Kouyate

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    The Mirror has linked Arsenal with a swoop for Anderlecht defender Cheikhou Kouyate.

    Kouyate is a centre-back by trade, but is also capable of stepping up in defensive midfield when required.

    The 23-year-old stands at 6'3" and would immediately add some real physical presence to the Arsenal lineup. In the absence of the tall but often injured Abou Diaby, signing Kouyate would certainly help redress the balance in Arsenal's otherwise diminutive midfield.

    Kouyate himself certainly seems keen on the prospect of a move to the Emirates Stadium. He told The Mirror:

    I am happy here but if Arsenal called me to go to London I would have no doubt about going. I hear they have asked for some information on me from the last few months...

    Arsenal would do well to snap up the versatile Kouyate before he attracts interest from elsewhere. 

Ashley Williams

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    If Arsenal sign Ashley Williams, they know exactly what they will be getting.

    Arsenal fans know all too well how good Williams can be. In the past two seasons, Swansea have become something of a bogey team for the Gunners, and that's due in large part to Williams' defensive know-how and exceptional leadership skills.

    According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal have already opened talks with Swansea on a £12 million move for their skipper. If he does arrive at the Emirates, Williams would immediately become the No. 1 centre-back in Arsene Wenger's lineup.

    The biggest barrier to signing Williams will be his long-standing affection for his other rumoured suitors—Liverpool Football Club.

Sebastien Corchia

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    Sebastien Corchia is a 22-year-old right-back plying his trade for French club Sochaux in Ligue 1.

    His athleticism and crossing ability enables him to serve as an attacking outlet as well as a defender, and he has managed to pick up two assists this season.

    The Express have suggested that Arsenal have identified Corchia as a potential replacement for Bacary Sagna. Certainly, he seems to be a thoroughbred footballer having represented France at almost every youth level.

    However, Arsenal fans might want Arsene Wenger to bring in a more experienced player to replace the consistently reliable Sagna. 

Aleksandr Dragovic

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    If Aleksandr Dragovic signs for Arsenal, he will arrive as a hero. The Austrian defender was a key component in FC Basel's Europa League victory over North London rivals Tottenham.

    In that tie, Dragovic's combination of power and positional intelligence shackled Emmanuel Adebayor superbly. Dragovic demonstrated that he is the type of physical defender who would flourish in the Premier League.

    Basel's Europa League run will have brought Dragovic to the attention of many top European clubs. The Express suggest that AC Milan and Zenit St. Petersburg are also on Dragovic's case.

    Arsenal will need to move fast to snare their man.

Daniel Opare

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    Daniel Opare is Standard Liege's very own Mr. Versatility.

    He can operate effectively at right-back, left-back or indeed in midfield.

    According to the Daily Mail, Arsene Wenger is now considering adding the Ghanaian to his own squad in time for the 2013-14 season.

    If Carl Jenkinson takes over as Arsenal's first-choice right-back, Opare could inherit Jenkinson's role in the squad as the youthful, versatile understudy.