According to Le Parisien, Jerome Boateng looks set for a switch to PSG this summer, having turned down Manchester United on transfer deadline day.
Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to bring a centre-back to Old Trafford this summer. Yesterday, as the deadline loomed for English clubs to see their incoming business done, the Red Devils were linked with a host of defenders.
Amongst the rumoured United targets – including Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld and Diego Godin – at one point, a deal that would seal Boateng’s return to the Premier League, and Manchester, looked as though it could be done.
Reportedly, Boateng, despite being clearly unsettled at Bayern Munich, rejected the move.
United were not the only Premier League outfit who would’ve been wise to secure the signature of Boateng during this transfer window.
Following the loan deal taking Calum Chambers to Fulham for the upcoming season, the Gunners look light at the heart of their defence, despite the recruitment of Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund.
Unai Emery could well come to rue not having made his own move to land Boateng this summer.
On the whole, Arsenal’s incoming summer business looks good. Areas of long-standing weakness, such as the defensive midfield berth, and the lack of depth at right-back, have been addressed with the arrivals of Lucas Torreira and Stephan Lichtsteiner respectively.
Chambers’ departure though, and Laurent Koscielny’s long-term injury, leaves only Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos as available senior centre-backs on the books at the Emirates.
Both Holding and Mavropanos are very inexperienced at the top level, whilst Mustafi’s flaws were often cruelly exposed last season. Sokratis plays a very similar style of game to Mustafi, so it isn’t immediately clear how he and the German could operate effectively as a partnership.
None of the aforementioned centre-backs are leaders or organisers either. Arsenal have lost that figure with the retirement of Per Mertesacker.
The acquisition of Boateng, who would’ve brought plenty of experience and authority to the Gunners’ defensive contingent, could’ve helped to balance Emery’s rearguard.
After a poor World Cup showing this summer, and having failed in the Premier League before with Manchester City, Boateng would’ve arrived in England eager to prove his quality. Arsenal would have been wise to offer him that opportunity, but now the chance has gone.