Arsenal are being linked with a big-money move for accomplished Germany central defender, Mats Hummels. The report comes from The Daily Express, who suggest the Gunners are ready to bid £17.6 million to land the highly-rated Borussia Dortmund stopper.
This rumour surfaces alongside yestrday's equally outlandish link to Fiorentina attacker Stevan Jovetic. It seems that the press is becoming more anxious about Arsenal's lack of transfer activity than many Gunners' fans.
That's not to say that a move for Hummels wouldn't be welcome. He is one of the most highly regarded central defenders in the European game. Powerful and combative, Hummels would add the element of aggression that is lacking from Arsenal's existing back four.
He also offers superior defensive technique to the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny. The 24-year-old offers intelligence and assurance along the defensive line. He anticipates the flow of attacks and breaks up play with forceful, but precise tackling.
Hummels delivered a series of promising performances for Germany during Euro 2012. He has also been the foundation of Dortmund's defense during two Bundesliga title-winning campaigns. He could be the perfect tonic for Arsenal's defensive woes.
Wenger's side have scored 46 goals this season, the third-best mark in the English Premier League. However, they have been consistently undone by mistakes and timidity at the back. Some defensive improvement was evident at the start of the season, but bad habits have since resurfaced. Vermaelen and Koscielny have been rash in one-on-one situations and Per Mertesacker's lack of pace is always a cause for concern.
Wenger and assistant manager Steve Bould have tried to tweak things. They have introduced zonal marking and tried to encourage more discipline in the defensive line and offside trap. Yet the changes haven't quite taken hold.
Arsenal's 27 goals against is the second highest mark among the top six teams. Inconsistency has blighted every area of Wenger's squad. However, if they fail to make the top four, it will likely be the defense that lets them down the most.
Of course, none of that guarantees Hummels will sign for Arsenal this month. It is after all, a rather fanciful rumour, especially considering the mooted fee. There is also the question of why Hummels would seek a move away from Dortmund?
He has developed into a quality defender and prominent international under the guidance of manager Jurgen Klopp. Then there is the reported interest from Barcelona, which surely would put any Arsenal bid in jeopardy.
However, while there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical, this is still the kind of bold move Arsenal need. If he managed to acquire Hummels, Wenger would restore faith in his ability to lure top stars to North London.
He would also fix a major problem position and give the Gunners the solidity they need to retain their lucrative top four status.889734