Arsenal Transfer Prospects: The Top Eight Defenders Linked with the Gunners'
Arsenal concluded a disappointing Emirates Cup with a feeble stalemate against New York Red Bulls as Kyle Bartley's own goal cancelled Robin van Persie's first half strike. The draw followed an equally disappointing encounter with Boca Junior a day prior in which defensive insecurities relinquished a two nil lead.
It was the first time the Gunners' had lost their local pre season competition and whilst their were some positives including new £10.5 million signing Gervinho and young midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, the defensive frailties are once again an issue.
The much anticipated centre half signing is yet to materialize for Arsene Wenger, who so far has failed to maintain his promise to Arsenal fans of new presences being implemented. Apart from Gervinho's acquisition from French champions OSC Lille, little has emerged as positive reinforcements for Arsenal.
After the North London giants endured a tumultuous demise at the latter end of 2010/2011, Arsenal fans are gradually losing their patience and with captain Cesc Fabregas now certain to depart the Emirates for his beloved Barcelona, the Gunners' appear to be fading on their ambition to eradicate the notorious six season trophy drought.
However their is still a month left in the Summer Transfer Window ensuring Wenger has time to implement changes. Furthermore it is still early days and the Arsenal squad is no where near full strength at this point in time. But there is no denying Wenger must enforce a quality defensive presence before the season commences.
But who should the Frenchman target?
BleacherReport is up to date with all the transfer rumours world wide and this slideshow brings you the top eight defenders Arsenal have been linked with.
8. Cedric Mongongu-Monaco
The Congolese centre half is touted as one of the brightest young defensive prospects in World Football after impressive displays for French outfit AS Monaco. The 22-year-old is has amassed over ninety appearances for the Red and Whites since 2007 and has now become a commanding presence in the Fench Lique 1.
Imposing and powerful, Wenger is rumoured to be a huge admirer of the DR Congo international and with the opportunity to secure the youngster for as little as £3 million, Mongongu has been linked with a move to the Emirates.
Not a signing Arsenal fans would greatly welcome but the young defender is a promising presence who has conveyed the ability to become one of the most dominating defenders in World Football. Blackburn are immensely interested in securing the centre half but Arsenal would be able to influence the outcome.
7. Scott Dann-Birmingham City
Birmingham City were relegated on the final day of the 2010/2011 season and subsequently the Blues' key players were targeted. It is no surprise that the Midlands club succumbed to the dismal trauma with influential defender Scott Dan nursing a hamstring injury.
Since Birmingham's promotion to the Premier League in 2009, the Englishman has slowly emerged as one of the most consistent and promising centre halves in the England. Strong, composed and quick, the 24-year-old combines the combative, physical Birmingham nature with balance and grace to convey an impressive defensive approach.
The former England U-21 international possess fifty Premier League appearances for Birmingham City and is now being pursued by Arsenal along with Liverpool, Aston Villa, Stoke City and Chelsea. Dann is destined to leave St Andrew's Park and his arrival at the Emirates would be a promising defensive signing for Arsene Wenger.
6. Jan Vertonghen-AFC Ajax
The Belgian has long been a defensive target for Arsene Wenger and one that fans have also demanded. Jan Vertonghen has become a strong, consistent presence in Dutch giant Ajax's backline. The 24-year-old is a balanced and dynamic defender who is held in the highest regard in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Vertonghen efforts in 2010/2011 of 50 appearances and seven goals were influential as Ajax secured Netherland's national league and the Belgium international is now targeted by Manchester City, AC Milan and of course the Gunners'.
Vertonghen shares a strong relationship with Arsenal's defensive leader Thomas Vermaelen, the duo enjoyed three years with one another at Ajax before Vermaelen joined the Gunners'. A natural leader and director, Ajax are not eager to sell their captain but have revealed the Belgian does possess a release cause.
The Belgian is hugely appealing however because of his versaility which enables him to play in the midfield and as a flank defender with ease.
Arsenal require consistency, strength, experience and leadership in their defence and Chelsea's Alex possess all the attributes. The Brazilian, who has been a standout performer for the London giants in recent seasons, has been touted with a potential £14 million move to the Emirates, which many would perceive as unlikely but regardless the signing would be a tremendous benefit for Arsenal.
A tough, composed defensive presence, the 29-year-old has fallen slightly out of favour at Stamford Bridge after presistent injuries and the arrival of young star David Luis restricted Alex to just 12 EPL appearances in 2010/2011 but the Brazilian international is a renowned and respected defensive presence none the less.
At £14 million Alex would be a great signing for Wenger and one that would certainly push towards eroding the lingering defensive woes at the Emirates. Strong and forceful in the air and combative on his feet, the Brazilian also possess an immense free kick, as Lukasz Fabianski would be well aware of.
4. Per Mertesacker-Werder Bremen
The German is a terrific option for Arsenal. A hugely intimidating presence at 6'6", the 26-year-old is considered one of the most efficient and strongest defenders in the German Bundesliga.
Tough, quick and a natural leader, Mertesacker's presence would help eradicate the lingering aerial frailty the Gunners' have a tendency to possess, whilst providing an immense target when attacking set pieces. With UEFA Champions League and international experience alongside over 215 appearances in Germany's top division, many believe the German international would thrive in the English Premier League.
Arsene Wenger is a noted admirer of the former Hannover 96 centre half and the German has been linked with Gunners', Werder Bremen are unlikely to refuse offers of £14 million which is well within Wenger's price range.
2. Phil Jagielka-Everton
Arsene Wenger has tried tirelessly to secure the services of Phil Jagielka for a number of seasons now and this Summer is no different. It is easy to see why the Frenchman holds the England international in such high regard. Jagielka has become one of the Premier League's best defenders in recent seasons with consist displays of strength, pace and composure.
Boasting over 140 appearances for Everton, the 28-year-old is a renowned presence at Goodison Park and manager David Moyes is eager to maintain the former Sheffield United defender in the Merseyside. Jagielka is rumoured to be worth £18 million by Moyes which has ensured a tentative approach from Wenger.
Jagielka possess all the physical attributes to eradicate the lingering physical problems at Arsenal alongside a lack of leadership but the Englishman is one of the smallest centre halves in the Premier League which could pose as an issue if Jagielka is to be signed.
2. Christopher Samba-Blackburn
The Congo enforcer is eager to sign with the Gunners and the 27-year-old has all the attributed to diminish the lingering defensive woes at Arsenal. At 6'4", Samba is one of biggest, imposing and powerful centre halves in the Premier League and he still manages to possess impressive speed.
The former Hertha Berlin defender has a combative and enforcing nature which is greatly lacking at the Emirates. Furthermore Samba is the captain of Blackburn and can implement increased leadership and direction to Arsenal's young squad.
Samba's desire is also an added plus due to his high intentions of joining the Gunners and gracing UEFA Champions League football.
1. Gary Cahill-Bolton
Throughout the current summer, a number of quality defenders have been linked with a move to the Emirates and many believe Bolton's Gary Cahill is the ideal signing required. Wenger has long been a fan of the Englishman, who in recent seasons has developed rapidly to become one of the best centre-halves in the English Premier League.
A tough, physical defender who possess impressive speed and strength, Cahill is an intimidating presence who would help alleviate the lingering aerial woes and continue to enhance Arsenal's defensive strength. A target for a number of clubs, the England international is valued at £17 million by Bolton manager Owen Coyle but Wenger may be able to reduce the amount by offering young defenders Kyle Bartley or Ignasi Miguel on loan.
Cahill has stated his desire to play for Arsenal and grace UEFA Champions League football, which is a benefit for the Gunners. A natural leader and experienced, composed presence, the former Aston Villa defender has over 135 Premier League appearances and appears as the defensive signing Arsenal require.