According to reports, Arsenal are currently looking to sign 31-year-old Croatian, Domagoj Vida, to solve their defensive issues. Arsenal would have to stump up £9m to his current club Besiktas, who are experiencing financial difficulties but the fee, even though modest, seems slightly high under the circumstances.
No one would deny that Domagoj Vida had an amazing FIFA World Cup final in 2018, but quite why Arsenal are trying to pair the veteran with William Saliba is a mystery of monumental proportions.
The club should surely be looking to establish a back-four line-up that will compliment each other and stay together for the foreseeable future. They have the bones of this with Bellerin, Tierney, and Saliba, they just need another to cement alongside that trio as a regular first choice.
Nico Elvedi (23) / Monchengladbach, Boubacar Kamara (23) / Marseille, Unai Nunez (23) / Athletic Bilbao, and Reims centre-back Axel Disasi (22) have all been mentioned as possible targets.
Arsenal also have Luiz, Chambers, and Holding who may avoid the summer cull, and let’s not forget Pablo Mari, whom it’s said Arteta likes. Mari is only 26 and would be better valued than Domagoj Vida costing somewhere between £5/£10m depending on what site you look at. Transfermarket.co.uk currently has him priced at £4.32m and that would be a bargain for a composed and assured centre-back.
I remember a time when it appeared that Wenger wouldn’t buy anyone over the age of 25 and his usual transfer targets were covered in Amniotic fluid.
These days Arsenal tends to go for the weathered player, closer to retirement than to fulfillment. Rewind to the shocking Stephan Lichtsteiner, who was supposed to bring a wealth of experience to a shaky defence but made them look a hundred times worse.
It’s doubtful that the Besiktas defender could be that bad, but I’m not sure that the Premier League is the place to experiment with ageing defenders against blistering pace. Many players have experience in the Premier League, who have eventually been tapped on the shoulder by Father Time including John Terry and Gary Cahill.
Some defenders just can’t maintain their levels due to the physical demands of constantly playing and training and these days, the top teams are expected to play in all the cup competitions as well as the domestic league.
No wonder players run themselves into the ground and are regularly injured. It appears to be worse for Premier League teams because clubs in Germany enjoy a 5-week winter break. England’s top sides compete throughout Christmas and New Year, usually as part of a congested fixture list.
If the transfer of Domagoj Vida from Besiktas has any credibility, then I’ll be amazed but it would certainly underline Arsenal’s limited resources and lack of ambition.