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Arsenal can land their own Rio Ferdinand with Maxence Lacroix swoop

Recent reports have suggested that Arsenal could be set to make a move for Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix, with the 21-year-old having caught the eye in recent seasons for the Bundesliga outfit.

The suggestion is that should William Saliba – who has returned to the Emirates following his loan spell at Marseille last term – be moved on this summer, then the Gunners could turn to his compatriot as an alternative.

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Mikel Arteta is currently in need of quality cover for the first-choice centre-back pairing of Ben White and Gabriel, with Rob Holding seemingly not of the quality required, while Pablo Mari looks surplus to requirements after spending the second half of last season on loan at Udinese.

There have been reports of a move for Ajax’s Argentine central defender, Lisandro Martinez, although Lacroix represents another quality option, with the 22-year-old having been dubbed “magnificent” by Alex Chaffer.

It is no surprise that there are clubs ready to do battle for his signature such has been his form of late, the £18m-rated colossus having enjoyed a stellar 2021/22 campaign, averaging 4.8 clearances, 2.1 interceptions and two tackles per game in his 29 league outings, while also winning a solid 64% of his total duels.

Equally, the £61k-per-week brute also compares favourably to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, ranking in the top 1% for dribbles completed and interceptions, as per FBref, showcasing his strength both in and out of possession.

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That quality has also seen him likened to former Manchester United and England star, Rio Ferdinand, with the Bundesliga website writing of the youngster that:

‘A centre-back cut from the ‘tall and lean’ mould, rather than ‘big and hulky’ variety, Lacroix has a certain grace on the ball that is reminiscent of former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand in his prime. Similarly able to glide out of defence and pick a forward pass to a teammate, his elegance masks a steely will to win and a healthy aggression.’

While Ferdinand had long been an adversary of the north London side during his time with United, even those of an Arsenal persuasion would find it hard to question the undoubted talent of the Englishman in his pomp.

A six-time Premier League winner and one-time Champions League victor, the defender-turned-pundit enjoyed a stellar career at Old Trafford after joining from Leeds United in 2002, earning recognition as the top-flight’s best-ever defender from Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk, with the Dutchman labelling him an “icon” of the game.

It would be some feat to replicate the heights of the former West Ham United academy graduate, although the suggestion is that Lacroix has the talent to be just as influential, with Arteta and co likely to have a gem on their hands if they can push a deal through.

AND, in other news: Arsenal plotting move for £19.8m-rated “assist machine”, could be better than Raphinha

Article title: Arsenal can land their own Rio Ferdinand with Maxence Lacroix swoop

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