Fabrizio Romano has revealed that Arsenal are continuing to monitor Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Edmond Tapsoba.
What did Romano say about Arsenal’s interest in Tapsoba?
It was reported back in May that Arsenal were showing a “strong interest” in Tapsoba, with it being claimed that they were the favourites to land the Burkina Faso international at the time.
The Gunners have yet to make their move for the 22-year-old but Romano has confirmed that they are still tracking the defender.
He said on The Here We Go Podcast: “For the future, they will continue keeping tabs and looking at Tapsoba of Bayer Leverkusen. He’s a player they love.”
What were Tapsoba’s stats in 2020/21?
Tapsoba was an almost ever-present in the Leverkusen team last term as he started 29 of the side’s 34 league games.
Across the course of the Bundesliga campaign he made more tackles (54), interceptions (48) and clearances (89) than any of his teammates (via WhoScored).
His performances earned him an average WhoScored game rating of 6.96, making him the second-highest rated player in the Leverkusen squad.
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How close are Arsenal to signing Ben White?
Arsenal may only be keeping their eye on Tapsoba for now but they are on the brink of signing another centre-back in Ben White.
The north London club have reportedly agreed a deal in principle with Brighton for the 23-year-old worth in the region of £50m.
White is expected to undergo his medical at the Emirates when he returns from holiday next week.
Should Arsenal be signing Tapsoba ahead of White?
According to WhoScored statistics, Tapsoba actually outperformed White in a number of categories last season.
The 6 foot 4 defender had a higher pass success rate (89.7% to 83.2%), won more aerial duels per game (2.2 to 1.4) and received a higher average match rating (6.96 to 6.60) than his English counterpart.
This suggests that Arsenal should have prioritised a move for Tapsoba over White. However, it should be noted that Tapsoba is set to miss the start of the new season after undergoing surgery on a syndesmosis tear earlier this month. He is expected to be out for the “foreseeable future”, highlighting how it is currently unclear as to exactly when he will return.
With this in mind, it seems that Arsenal may have made the right decision in going after White, as they are now set to have a fully-fit player in their ranks who already has Premier League experience under his belt, rather than bringing in someone who is injured and has never played in England’s top-flight before.