Sol Campbell’s move from Tottenham to Arsenal made him a pariah among Spurs fans and a hero among the Arsenal faithful. In Campbell’s first season with the Gunners, he won a domestic double, rubbing salt in the wounds of the grieving Tottenham supporters.
Not only had they lost their captain—they had lost face.
David Woods of the Daily Star is now reporting that Younes Kaboul is preparing to make the same journey:
The France international defender is out of contract this summer.
And he has told friends he is keen on the idea of moving across north London to the Gunners.
Centre-back Kaboul, 28, is best friends with Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby and boss Arsene Wenger will need cover in that area.
It’s far from a certainty. Different journalists hold conflicting views as to whether or not Kaboul is indeed free to go at the end of this season.
On his Twitter account, The Mirror’s John Cross has suggested that the French defender has another year left on his deal.
The whole move is contingent on that fact. Negotiations between Arsenal and Spurs over any player are likely to be too fraught to ever come to fruition. The only time transfers between the two rivals occur is when the clubs are able to negotiate directly with the players. Campbell is a good example, as is the switch of William Gallas from Arsenal to Tottenham.
Kaboul’s motivation would be clear. In joining Arsenal, he would be stepping up a level. Arsene Wenger’s team remain on course to qualify for the Champions League, whereas the best Spurs can hope for is another energy-sapping Europa League campaign.
Some Arsenal fans will be frustrated at the mere mention of Kaboul. Not only is he a Tottenham player, but he would be a typically underwhelming Arsenal signing. Wenger’s critics might suggest that in chasing someone who is French, injury prone and cheap, Wenger is merely following a well-established pattern.
However, Arsenal need centre-backs. The latest news from the Hamburger Morgenpost (link is in German) suggests that Johan Djourou’s loan deal with HSV is due to be made permanent. Not only that, but club captain Thomas Vermaelen has been linked by The Metro with a surprise move to Manchester City.
Given his lack of playing time this season, Vermaelen’s departure—whether that be to City or elsewhere—feels inevitable.
That would leave Arsenal with just Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. The Gunners have got away with having just three senior centre-backs this season, but fortune is unlikely to be so kind in 2014/15. To cope with the rigours of a long season, most elite squads need at least four senior centre-halves.
That leaves Arsenal two shy of their desired total. Kaboul might not be the perfect solution, but signing him as a fourth-choice player at his position on a free transfer would be a pragmatic move. On his day, he is an effective Premier League defender. If Arsenal can recruit a promising young defender to be ahead of him in the pecking order, they’ll have excellent depth in a crucial area of the field.
What's more, it would make Spurs fans very angry indeed. That joy alone might be enough to win the Arsenal fans round.