Arsenal make offer for 31-year-old as Emery eyes 1st January signing

By on January 7, 2019

According to reports from Italy via TeamTalk, Arsenal have put forward an offer for centre-back Medhi Benatia but we face a battle to persuade Juventus to cash-in this month.

Unai Emery has seen his options at the back decimated during the first half of the season with Rob Holding ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury while Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal have been out with hamstring injuries.

To make matters worse, Dinos Mavropanos has been out for four months with a groin injury while Laurent Koscielny is still trying to find his best form again having only recently returned from seven months on the sidelines with an Achilles injury.

Sokratis has also had a few niggling problems to deal with so it’s meant Arsenal have had to put-out a patched up defence at times this season and Emery admitted over the weekend he’s keen to strengthen his options at the back this month.

Benatia has emerged as a target once again having been linked back in the summer and TeamTalk are citing Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira as claiming that Arsenal have now joined Schalke in putting forward an offer to the 31-year-old’s agents.

However, the Italian journalist goes on to say that Juventus are reluctant to let Benatia leave in January and want to hold-out until the summer before agreeing to any sale.

Schira’s tweet translated as:

“The entourage of Mehdi Benatia have received proposals from #Arsenal and #Schalke in recent weeks: the Moroccan defender was ready to evaluate them, but for #Juventus in January he is in-transferable. In the summer, on the other hand, the farewell is likely #calciomercato”

Arsenal are reportedly already in talks with Juve over bringing forward Aaron Ramsey’s proposed move to Turin from the summer to this month so we may look to include Benatia as part of some form of swap deal.

The Moroccan international has bags of experience having played for the likes of Roma and Bayern Munich as well as Juventus during his career so he’d be a solid short-term solution if Arsenal could bring him to the Emirates.

However, we need to be planning for the long-term too as Sokratis, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Nacho Monreal and Koscielny are all the wrong side of 30 so I think it would be a risk to sign another ageing defender.

If we can get Benatia on the cheap then it’s worth doing but if Juventus demand over £10m then I think we should look elsewhere and target a younger centre-back this month.