Arsenal eyeing Serie A and Algeria defensive talent Faouzi Ghoulam
Arsenal fans must be pinching themselves, as Arsene Wenger, fresh from capturing one of the best Premier League stoppers of the past decade in Petr Cech, is reportedly ready to add further defensive recruits.
The Emirates outfit (4/1 with Coral to lift the Premier League) have often been accused of overlooking their rearguard, but are now believed to have Algeria international and Napoli full back Faouzi Ghoulam on their radar.
Wenger is just a few important puzzle pieces away from a squad that has the quality to truly compete for the Premier League and a reported £10m bid for Ghoulam would be a step in the right direction.
Current left back incumbent Nacho Monreal, who made 28 Premier League appearances last campaign, has been repeatedly tipped to move back to homeland Spain, with Athletic Bilbao favourites for his services, while Kieran Gibbs fell behind in the pecking order.
It is a position that the Gunners could certainly do with options and an upgrade in regardless, with attack-minded and powerful Ghoulam a prospective bargain if he can be prised from Naples.
The Desert Foxes full back made 21 Serie A outings under Rafa Benitez in for Campania club Napoli last campaign, providing two assists, and before that caught the eye at the 2014 World Cup with his country, who impressed in Brazil. See Ghoulam’s highlights here:
Tenacious and aggressive Ghoulam, who can also play effectively at wing back could give the Gunners something different from an attacking perspective, with his driving runs, and is also said to have previously attracted interest from Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid.
The Premier League looks the best fit for the bullish 19-capped rearguard flank threat, and though Benitez may fancy bolstering the Bernabeu backline with his former Little Donkeys defensive charge, Real already have depth in that role with Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao.
Named in the Europa League Squad of the Season in 2014/15 France-born Ghoulam is fast gaining recognition so it may be prudent for Wenger to pluck the 24-year-old, who has not yet reached his ceiling, now before more clubs begin to jostle for his signature.
Arsenal are also said to be tracking another Napoli star in goal machine Gonzalo Higuain, although it appears the striker could be too pricey for Wenger’s tastes. Conflicting reports have come from the Southern Italian side (16/1 to win the Europa League), with recent reports suggesting they wish to cash-in on the sharpshooter.