France have produced some of the greatest players of all time, including Zidane, Platini, and Henry. Also in that category is Lillian Thuram, who had to retire due to heart condition. The same condition tragically took the life of his brother.
Ever since his retirement, the French defence has looked vulnerable. Phillipe Mexes, Abidal, and Squallaci have been drafted to fill the void left by the greatest French defender of all time. Raymond Domenech has been unable to find a replacement to stabilize the French defence; as result France have performed unconvincingly.
Thuram had everything: pace, power, positional sense, an uncanny ability to read the game, strong tackling, terrific leaping, and strong leadership. The aforementioned defenders have some of Thuram's attributes, but not enough to be considered in the same breath as Thuram.
For me, the most impressive ability Thuram possessed was his composure. This radiated through to his teammates during France's World Cup triumph in 1998. He was also the defensive backbone in '06. This seems to be a rare trait that is reserved for the finest defenders in the world.
Arsene Wenger has always been a fan of Lillian Thuram. Wenger tried to acquire the powerful Frenchman, but his bid was too low for Parma to accept.
The heir to Thuram's throne has been birthed in the form of Mamadou Sakho. Sakho possesses the same traits as Thuram.
At 19-years-old, Sakho is the captain of PSG. He made his debut for PSG at the age of 17. Within a couple of months, he captained the side.
Sakho stands over six feet tall. His immense ability means that he is a player of today rather than a player of tomorrow, which Arsenal need. Sakho would integrate into Arsenal's system perfectly. He is technically sound, comfortable with both feet and is considered the next Lillian Thuram.
Over the years, Arsenal have missed out on some great French players such as Makelele and Thuram; Arsenal cannot afford to miss the opportunity on this fantastic player. A bid of £14 million would probably be accepted, and considering Sakho is at the Emirates tomorrow, there is no time like the present to conclude this deal.
There is no reason the player would reject Arsenal, a club which has a strong French contingent and the best manager in the world for nurturing young talent. Arsenal would also give him a better chance of breaking into the France World Cup squad.
If Arsenal wait too long to act, I guarantee that Manchester United, Barcelona, or Inter Milan will sign the outrageously talented defender.
The simple fact is this: Sakho is too good an opportunity to pass up. Many believe Arsenal lack a leader, but if Wenger purchases Sakho, the team's leadership and defensive problems would be cured.
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