Arsenal: 4 inexpensive center-back options to partner William Saliba

Arsenal, William Saliba (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal, William Saliba (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Arsenal (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

3. Martin Hinteregger

This may seem like an odd one, simply because he doesn’t play for a top team, or make headlines often, but Martin Hinteregger would be a valuable signing for a number of reasons. The Bundesliga declared the Austrian one of the top 5 success stories of the season, and it’s a plaudit he deserves.

Valued at around £14 million, and with the left-footed prerequisite, Hinteregger could come into the club through reinvestment of any money garnered from center-back sales this summer, which is a sweet deal.

The 27-year-old covers a lot of the bases Mikel Arteta would want. He’s skilled in defending in a back four or in a back three—he featured through the center for much of Frankfurt’s Bundesliga campaign but played on the left against Arsenal in both of their Europa League group stage ties.

The Austrian international also likes playing long balls, playing an average of 4 accurate long balls per game. His skill in that area would help relieve David Luiz of some of the pressure in possession and could be a key trait considering Arsenal’s talent down the left flank.

Otherwise, he’s pretty much the perfect center-back. Tall, strong, and a fantastic tackler, he led Frankfurt in tackles, blocked shots, and clearances this season. He also has a fantastic jumping reach, which is a major asset in the Premier League.

Finally, he brings a massive set-piece threat, scoring 9 goals this year from indirect set pieces and corner kicks, making him the highest-scoring defender in Europe this year. He scored 5 goals in 8 games this winter and capped the restart off with a brace against Bayern. We could certainly do worse. On to number 2, a player with a lot of potential and very little downside.

Arsenal (Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP) (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images) /

2. Malang Sarr

The 21-year-old center-back is a free agent. Yes, that’s right, a free agent. His contract with OGC Nice expired on July 1st, and he has not signed for another club since. Even without the Frenchman’s impressive skill set, we could get him for free, and at only 21 years of age, keep him for quite a while. That’s enough of a reason for me.

He averages 1 tackle, 2 interceptions, and 1.3 clearances per game, a very solid rate considering he only played in 55% of Nice’s games this season. Like everybody else on this list, he’s left-footed, and boy does he use that left peg to good effect.

Sarr averaged a 91% pass completion rate this season, which is excellent for a center-back, especially one so young. He completes 93% of his short passes and plays almost 4 accurate long balls per game. His possession retention and ball distribution are among his greatest skills, something we haven’t seen from a left-sided Arsenal center-back in ages.

Arsenal have already been linked with the Frenchman, about a month ago, but rumors have quieted, with multiple sources claiming that the Gunners missed their window due to a surplus of defenders already at the club. Until he pens a signature with another club, I disagree.

There is no better situation than one where a club can offload deadwood and bring in a talented youngster to replace it. Arsenal should jump at that opportunity. Just like they should at the chance to sign the player at #1.