Arsène Wenger: I Rate Madjid Bougherra Highly

Asser GhozlanCorrespondent IJune 15, 2010

Arsène Wenger revealed Sunday that he admires Glasgow Rangers and Algeria defender Madjid Bougherra.

The Arsenal boss, currently fulfilling his regular role as an expert pundit and co-commentator on French television at the World Cup in South Africa, stated that 27-year-old Bougherra is a player he "rates highly" and that he would be a success in a physical league such as the Premier League.

However, Wenger typically refused to answer whether he would indeed bid for the player when directly quizzed on the issue.

A burly, combative central defender at 6'2" tall, Bougherra would certainly fit the bill, where he would slot seamlessly into a side whose weaknesses have mainly stemmed from the defensive spine; a fact clearly not lost on Wenger. Le Boss has made no secret of the fact that he was ready to spend on defensive reinforcements this summer, and has even hinted that most of the cash available at his disposal would go to serve that purpose.

Whether or not Bougherra might actually be currently on Wenger's radar remains to be seen; however he was briefly linked prior to this year's African Cup of Nations in Angola, where he was named in the team of the tournament.

And with unconfirmed reports suggesting the imminent departures of senior defenders Sol Campbell , William Gallas , and Mikaël Silvestre to follow on from Philippe Senderos ' short move across the capital to Fulham , a move for a player of Bougherra's stature and experience might be a sensible one. In fact, he may well be one of several potential targets, with the likes of Laurent Koscielny from French side Lorient, Bolton's Gary Cahill, and experienced Roma stopper Philippe Mexès having been strongly linked over the past few weeks.

Bougherra himself has made no secret of his desire to make a return to England, having represented the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic in the Football League in the past. This time, however, he has been quoted in his homeland to harbour ambitions to pull on the shirt of one of the Premier League's top six, and that he could seriously consider a move south of the border following the end of Algeria's participation at the World Cup finals.

There are already reports, however, suggesting that Primera Liga side Malaga have been the first to make a move, having been rumoured to have submitted a £4 million bid to the cash-strapped Glasgow giants to secure Bougherra's services. Turkish outfit Galatasaray have also been linked.

Bougherra has been a central figure in Rangers ' consecutive SPL triumphs over the past two years. The French-born defender has also amassed over 40 caps for his country of origin, Algeria, helping them qualify to a first World Cup appearance in quarter of a century. Algeria are in fact England's next opponents in Group C, next Friday. Perhaps a perfect opportunity for an even closer look then for Mr. Wenger!

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