Edu knows January transfer priority as new Arsenal undroppable could miss five matches


We are now over three months into the 2023/24 campaign and Arsenal have only tasted defeat once in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta’s side are currently third in the standings, having accrued 27 points from their first 12 league outings.

Perhaps the greatest strength that the Gunners have shown this term is their defensive solidity. The Gunners have conceded just ten times in the league and the underlying data is equally as impressive.

As per fbref, the north London outfit have registered just 9.2 xGA (expected goals against) so far this season, the least in the entire English top-flight. This number reads even more impressive when you consider the ACL injury that summer signing Jurrien Timber sustained during his Premier League debut back in August.

Timber's absence means that Arsenal effectively only have six first-team defenders in the form of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko. The performances of Tomiyasu have perhaps gone slightly under the radar.

The Japanese international has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent players in recent weeks, delivering excellent displays against Chelsea, Sevilla (twice), Sheffield United and Burnley with the versatile defender netting his first goal for the club against the Blades. The 25-year-old doesn’t necessarily start every match but he has featured in all but one league match this season, with his only absence coming against Fulham when he was suspended.

But the former Bologna man is scheduled to take part in the Asian Cup in the New Year, meaning Arteta will have just five senior defenders at his disposal until Tomiyasu returns. The tournament takes place between January 12th - February 10th, meaning the Arsenal defender could miss league fixtures against Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and West Ham United, as well as the fourth round of the FA Cup if the Gunners progress that far.

Despite plenty of speculation regarding a new striker or winger being signed, it is evident that an additional body is needed at the back first. Last season, injuries to Tomiyasu and Saliba cost Arsenal in the title run-in.

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They must learn from that mistake and go out and recruit a new defender come January, with Tomiyasu missing up to. Arsenal transfer chief Edu will no doubt be planning ahead of the window and one that the Brazilian should be targeting is Sporting CP’s Ousmane Diomande.

The 19-year-old has established himself as one of Europe’s most promising young centre-backs in recent times, helping Sporting concede just nine times in the league so far this term. The Ivory Coast-born youngster has a rare blend of excellent in and out-of-possession qualities.

Diomande is naturally rapid; his recovery pace is extremely useful for a side playing a high defensive line. But he is also hugely progressive with the ball at his feet, regularly looking to break the lines with his vertical passing ability, making him the perfect option for the Gunners. Arsenal WhatsApp channel

Mikel Arteta celebrates Arsenal's recent Premier League victory over Manchester City

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