Ex-Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has backed his former club to make a bid for Bournemouth centre-back Nathan Ake at the end of the season.
Despite signing Pablo Mari in the January transfer window, the TV pundit feels that head coach Mikel Arteta will want another centre-half in order to play three at the back, and he thinks there are two factors why a move for Ake would make sense:
“I think Arsenal need to play with a back three. They’re not good enough as defenders to play as a four. Ake has pace and he’s played in England for a while, so if you brought him in for next season he’s not a player who will need time to get used to the league for six months. Arsenal need to hit the ground running [next season] and everybody needs to know their jobs in the team.”
Chelsea reportedly have a £40m buyback option on Ake, but the Blues have not decided to trigger it despite his performances on the South Coast.
The Dutchman is just 24 years of age, and his pace, as Merson mentions, would make him a tremendous asset at the back, with the Gunners’ other centre-back options not exactly known for their speed.
Arsenal have been linked with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano in recent months but he would cost a similar amount and would need to adapt to the Premier League.