Arsenal Transfer News: Sealing Matija Nastasic Deal Should Be Gunners' Priority

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 7, 2014

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 18:  Matija Nastasic of Manchester City in action during the Pre Season Friendly match between Hearts and Manchester City at Tyncastle Stadium on July 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Pete Norton/Getty Images

Following on from the news that Matija Nastasic could be available for transfer this summer, Arsenal must work to ensure the deal doesn't pass them by.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport (h/t Metro) is reporting that the centre-back has been deemed "surplus to requirements" at the Etihad Stadium, with Manchester City hoping to cash in on their defender.

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 15:  Matija Nastasic and Gael Clichy of Manchester City celebrate the goal of team mate Maroc Lopes during the friendly match between Al Ain and Manchester City at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on May 15, 2014 in Al Ain, Unite
Warren Little/Getty Images

Although the Serbian has failed to earn consistent minutes as a starter since moving to England, Nastasic is very much still a commodity holding the kind of potential that Arsene Wenger may be better equipped to develop.

After all, there are few, if any, Premier League clubs that have shown the ability to splice young, emerging talent with first-team responsibilities with the same success that Arsenal have.

Nastasic's arrival would of course also help in offsetting what would appear to be the impending departure of resident defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Joe Bernstein of the Daily Mail has reported that Manchester United are preparing a £15 million offer to beat Barcelona to the Belgian's signature.

Admittedly, Vermaelen hasn't been the most prominent figure in his own right, either, with Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker cementing their status as the centre-back pairing of choice.

As such, it may be prudent for Wenger's side to invest in a younger asset as their new third-choice central defender, but one who doesn't represent a significant drop in quality, either. In that vein of thinking, Nastasic fits the bill.

Last week, Wenger was quoted by The Guardian in admitting his captain could very well leave the Emirates Stadium this summer:

At the moment Thomas Vermaelen is here. He is injured at the moment with a short-term injury. It [a move] could happen, yes it’s a possibility that he goes. If he goes we have to replace him because he’s an important player in our squad.

I expect him to stay but he, of course, did not play enough games last year. For me he’s a very important player but I couldn’t guarantee him the games he wanted last year.

Nastasic should have been considered a very acceptable alternative beforehand, but with news emerging of his fresh availability, the Gunners should be evermore encouraged to see the 21-year-old join their cause.

Last month, Sky Sports revealed that Italian giants Inter and Roma will challenge for the youngster's services, however:

Wenger's only concerns may rest with the long-term sustainability of Nastasic, who has struggled as recently as last season with knee and calf issues that the player will hope don't impact his career.

That being said, the Serbian's positives outweigh his negatives, and studying under the likes of Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis for the past year and more will have helped somewhat in his development.

KHIMKI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 23: Keisuke Honda (L) of PFC CSKA Moscow in action against Matija Nastasic of Manchester City FC during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between PFC CSKA Moscow and Manchester City FC at the Arena Khimki Stadium on October
Epsilon/Getty Images

Nastasic is surviving as much on the expectations laid on for him during his days with Fiorentina as he is the results produced as a Manchester City player, thus have been the obstacles placed in his path since arriving in England.

However, this summer could be the player's chance to step out from the shadows of others and finally book his own spotlight in elite surroundings, and Arsenal would be wise to ensure that comes about in north London.


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