Arsenal are reportedly now interested in another ageing centre-half, Medhi Benatia. He literally makes no sense whatsoever. None. I don’t believe a word of it.
As the transfer window rumbles on and the relentless stream of energy-sapping, life-draining, joy-banishing rumours continues — you can tell that I am very happy at this time of year –, Arsenal proceed to be a team that are reported destinations for many players from all across the world.
The latest name to foolishly surface is Juventus centre-half Medhi Benatia. Benatia is currently at the World Cup with a Morocco team that is extremely unfortunate to be sitting on zero points after two games and has been plying his trade at Juventus since his move from Bayern Munich in 2016 — he initially arrived on loan for a year before making the switch permanent.
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Benatia has been linked with a move to the Emirates in the past. He, like Kostas Manolas, is one of those re-tread continental defenders that the papers turn to when they need a name to apparently excite the Arsenal fans. And this time, at 31 years of age, Benatia seems more willing to make a clearer decision on his future, admitting during the World Cup that a decision needs to be made when he returns to Turin.
Moreover, there are suggestions in the Italian media that he could be prised away from the Old Lady for as little as £17 million. Even for a defender the wrong side of 30, given his experience and consistently high performance-level, that is a very good price indeed, something that will undoubtedly attract fans knowing that the club is not flush with cash.
But that is where the sense stops. First and foremost, he’s 31. Why does this club seemingly have a desperation to pursue players that are near or over 30? (Sokratis Papastathopoulos is 29; Stephan Lichtsteiner is 34). With a plethora of young prospects coming through and needing game time, why clog that up with another player who can realistically only provide one or two years at the top? It doesn’t really make sense.
Moreover, with Shkodran Mustafi already in the squad and Laurent Koscielny still to return, it’s not as if there is a lack of depth. Presuming the Sokratis move is completed, Unai Emery will have six perfectly capable central defenders to call upon once Koscielny returns midway through the year. That is more than enough.
Benatia just doesn’t make sense at all. That’s why I struggle to believe these rumours. The Gunners aren’t that stupid, are they?