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Sign him up Emery – This £12m-rated centre-back might just be what Arsenal need to strengthen chances of top-three finish.

Nicolas Nkoulou would be the ideal January business for Arsenal

According to the Sun, Arsenal are interested in signing Torino’s Cameroonian international centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou in the January transfer window.

Unai Emery is a personal admirer of the 28-year-old former Marseille, Lyon and Monaco man from his managerial days at Paris Saint Germain. (h/t Sun)

The Sun also claims that Torino rate their star man at just £12million and the Serie A club might be prepared to cash in on him to raise some funds.

A product of the famous Kadji Sports Academy in Cameroon, Nkoulou made his move to Monaco in 2008 and player for Marseille and Lyon in the following season. He was signed permanently by Torino after a successful loan spell in the Serie A in the 2017-18 season.

The hugely experienced centre-back made 162 appearances for Marseille over the course of 5 seasons and has been in tremendous form in the Serie A this term, helping his mid-table club achieve the fourth-best defensive record in the Italian top flight.

Nkoulou, who captained Cameroon to glory in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, is known for his well-rounded abilities as a centre-back. He has a fairly good technique which allows him to pass the ball around with ease and switch the play with diagonals. His fluent passing has often promoted the managers to use him in a defensive midfield role.

The 28-year-old is a good reader of the game at the back in the air as well as off the ground and has the ability to break up the play with tackles and interceptions. Known for his commitment and application, Nkoulou does not hesitate to put his body on the line to block goal-bound shots. However, he has a good disciplinary record for a centre-back and does not dive into reckless challenges.

Nkoulou has a tackling success rate of more than 90 per cent in the Serie A this term, having successfully completed 33 of his attempted 37 tackles. He has also registered 39 interceptions from 19 appearances, which is definitely an impressive record. Furthermore, he has a pass accuracy rate of 92.7, including 3.1 long balls per game.

To put things into perspective, Nkoulou might just be the commanding presence that Arsenal need at the back to shore up their leaky defence.

Arsenal currently are 5th in the standings, there points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and the Gunners have every reason to be worried about their defensive record. Unai Emery’s men have conceded 31 goals in the Premier League so far, which is one of the worst defensive records in the top ten.

Rob Holding has been ruled out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury while Konstantinos Mavropanos is yet to return to training from the treatment table. Shkodran Mustafi, who was supposed to be one of the mainstays of Arsenal’s defence, has struggled for form and fitness this season.

Emery has been forced to use Granit Xhaka and Nacho Monreal at the heart of the defence to cover for the absentees, a ploy that has often led to disastrous consequences. Moreover, Laurent Koscielny was forced to return from his long-term Achilles injury ahead of schedule and his lack of sharpness at the back cost Arsenal the game against Southampton.

Nkoulou can add depth to Arsenal’s defensive options and also being that stability to the back line with his experience and qualities. That said, they should not hesitate to snap him up for a measly £12million in January.


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