Arsenal are said to be interested in signing Manchester City defender Micah Richards, according to The Daily Mirror. The Gunners should complete a deal for Richards and move him to centre-back.
Rather than focusing on technique, Arsene Wenger needs to identify summer defensive recruits with superior athleticism. Currently a right-sided full-back, Richards perfectly fits the bill.
He is actually the ideal athlete to solidify the middle of Arsenal's defence. Richards possesses an abundance of strength and pace. The latter attribute is something sorely missing along the Gunners back four this season.
Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen have been sluggish and plodding in key games. This has wrecked Arsenal's penchant for playing a high defensive line.
Richards' speed across the ground is his best asset. It often enables him to compensate for any mis-judgements in positioning. The young England international is also a powerful physical presence.
That's something else Arsenal's defence is currently missing. A timidity has plagued their centre-backs, who can often be bullied off the ball.
That's unlikely to happen to the robust Richards. He is as strong on the ground as he is in the air. His aerial prowess is also particularly evident in attack.
He is a major threat from corners and free kicks. All of what Richards does best makes him more suited to a central defensive berth. He's got experienced in the role having been deployed in the middle for City in the past. Richard flourished as a central defender at the start of the 2007-08 campaign.
He's also used to the frenetic and rugged nature of the English Premier League. That's something many of Wenger's imported defenders have often struggled to adapt to.
However, The Mirror report indicates Richards is being targeted primarily to succeed veteran Bacary Sagna. Arsenal's right-back has struggled this season and his current deal is expiring.
Yet Wenger doesn't need Richards to play right full-back. Youngster Carl Jenkinson is a capable and developing player. He is defensively solid and is working hard to improve his attacking contributions.
The ex-Charlton Athletic prodigy certainly deserves the chance to grow into a starting role. More importantly, Richards offers skills Arsenal's defence hasn't possessed in the middle since Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure operated at centre-back.
At 24 Richards is still young enough to develop into the kind of quality defender his potential merits. He's had his injuries, including missing most of this season.
However, when healthy, Richards can be the perfect solution to Arsenal's defensive woes.