Arsenal are set to launch a bank-busting bid to land Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte in January, as Arsene Wenger desperate to add to his options at the back.
The highly-rated Frenchman only penned a new deal with his La Liga outfit in the summer which ties him to the club until 2018. but according to the Daily Express Wenger is ready to meet his buyout clause of £34million.
The youngster drew praise from all quarters for his performances last term and, with the Gunners relatively thin on options at the back following the summer exits of Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen, his talents could soon be on display in north London.
The report in question claims that Laporte is wanted by Wenger to bolster his defence, with the 20-year-old pricey but having proved himself capable. At the moment the Arsenal coach is having to pray that neither Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny pick up an injury because if they do it could spell trouble.
Following the exits of Sagna and Vermaelen, to Manchester City and Barcelona respectively, Wenger moved to plug the gaps by acquiring the burgeoning Calum Chambers and French defender Mathieu Debuchy.
Whilst Chambers has looked surprisingly consistent when called upon Debuchy hasn’t been so lucky, and an injury sustained during a clash with City last month has ruled him out until at least the end of November.
As a consequence Wenger’s selection pool is drastically thin, and the French coach will be acutely aware that his trophy ambitions are now resting on none of his other defenders picking up long-term injuries.
If he can make it through to January without having to call up any reserves then it’s said Wenger will address the issue properly, by investing in the market for another player.
Laporte is expensive at £34million, but that price represents a great deal of potential for the future and, with Wenger’s aptitude at working with youngsters having become a trademark of his managerial career, it can be assumed that he’ll be able to get the best out of the young Bilbao star.
Of course such plans will have to be shelved for the time being, particularly as Wenger will now be occupied with forming a response to the news that Mesut Ozil has been ruled out for up to three months, with MRI scans from the German national side revealing that he has a serious problem with his left knee.
The 25-year-old has come under criticism recently but remains a key player for the Gunners, and his absence gives Wenger yet another injury-enforced headache he needs to navigate correctly.