According to the Daily Star, Arsenal are keen on securing the services of Jerome Boateng in this January transfer window. The Gunners wish to sign the Bayern Munich defender on a short-term loan deal, and, they are plotting to make a move. The potential arrival at the Emirates of Boateng could offer a competitor to David Luiz in defence. And in the following article, we’ll discuss why Mikel Arteta should snub the Brazilian in favour of the Bayern Munich star if he wants Arsenal to try and make it to the Champions League spots this season. They are currently outsiders in this race, trailing Chelsea, who are in fourth place, by a whopping ten points, and the bookmakers seem to think so too, offering a price of 33.00 for the Gunners to make it to Europe’s top table this season. A more realistic aim would be to finish in the top six, and freebets.com have listed all the £10 no deposit football bets for fans to back the Gunners to achieve this, with some bookies offering odds of 12/5 for Arsenal to at least ensure European football for next season.
However, for that to happen, they will need to vastly improve their defensive output. Evidently this season, Luiz has lacked the sense of composure which was a part of his game some years ago. The ex-Chelsea centre-back has looked nervy, especially when coping with a high press or a pacy attack, which has had a negative effect on the rest of the Arsenal backline. Boateng, in that regard, is a much more composed defender. Hardened by years of expertise at the highest level, the German rarely gets caught out of position and is incredibly comfortable with the ball at his feet. Boateng is also arguably a much better leader than Luiz in many aspects. The Bayern Munich star has played alongside a bunch of quality defenders such as Philipe Lahm and Mats Hummels and consequently, is well aware of the idea of leadership. Luiz, in contrast, is just considered as a leader because of his experience. He wasn’t really a leader when he played alongside Thiago Silva at Paris Saint-Germain, with Silva having the armband and thus most of the defensive responsibility. The Brazilian frequently appears sloppy and undependable, which has been evident in his performances this season and when marshalling the defence.
Further, Arsenal have struggled to perform when playing out from the back. Sokratis and Luiz’s inability to pass the ball accurately has seen the Gunners frequently struggling against high-pressing opposition. It has also led to the opposition making critical turnovers in the final third – which makes it much easier for them to initiate fast counter-attacks. That is something that Boateng could address immediately. The 31-year-old is superb on the ball, a quality that was utilised by Pep Guardiola during his time at the Allianz Arena. He is capable of finding midfielders with his laser-guided accurate passes, but he could also switch the play to the flanks with passes that are often difficult to intercept. Consequently, the German would definitely improve the build-up – making him a much more reliable option than Luiz for Arsenal. Arsenal’s next few games see them take on Burnley and Newcastle in the Premier League, before they face Olympiakos in the Europa League round-of-32. While the Gunners are favourites for both the league games, with odds for the Burnley game at 21/20 and the Newcastle game at 4/9, they are also considered odds-on to progress to the next round in the Europa League at 5/4. However, they are outsiders for the tournament as a whole, with odds of 15/2 for Arsenal to win the trophy. Signing Boateng would be a solid statement of intent in that regard. A loan move looks most likely, with one bookmaker pricing it at 6/1, and Arteta would be well advised to consider this, given the lack of funds at the Emirates and the pressing need to solve his defensive issues.