Arsenal will look to offload a number of centre-backs this summer once Gabriel Magalhaes completes his transfer, believes former Gunner Nigel Winterburn.
Sources understands the north London club have agreed to pay around £25million for the Lille defender, who has agreed to a five-year contract.
The Brazilian has also completed his medical at Arsenal, who have reportedly seen off approaches from Napoli, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain in the race for his signature.
And Winterburn, who made 440 appearances for the club, believes it’s a “positive” signing for Mikel Arteta.
“For me, it’s all about the type of personnel you’re getting as much as the ability,” Winterburn told bookmakers.co.uk. “But he’s highly regarded, a left-sided centre-half who is supposed to be very powerful.Embed from Getty Images
“Arsenal have got problems at centre-half and they can’t seem to get a consistent pairing together with the players they already have in that position, so it’s quite obvious that that’s a position Arteta feels he must strengthen.”
“It looks like a really positive signing,” he added.
With Gabriel’s incoming, Arsenal will have central defenders in abundance, with William Saliba returning from his Saint-Etienne loan, alongside David Luiz, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who all remain at the club.
Winterburn now anticipates multiple departures from the club, but believes Arsenal will look to keep at least two of those currently in the squad.Embed from Getty Images
“I think there’ll be more than one of them going, because Arsenal have got a host of centre-halves and it may come down to which players are going to be limited in appearances going forward,” he said.
“Age may come into it too – all of those players will be looking at the situation and wondering how often they’re going to be playing and what their chances of being first choice are.
“And if not, are they happy to sit on the bench and wait for opportunities? The one player out of the four that I think might be worth holding on to is Rob Holding.
“Up until his injury I would have said he was Arsenal’s most consistent defender, but he’s struggled to get back to full fitness and get that consistency back.Embed from Getty Images
“It would be a bit of a surprise if Holding was to leave, but then you have to consider Arsenal’s financial situation. They might feel as though he’s the one they might be able to get the most money for, so in terms of the club trying to balance the books it might be a good option for them to sell.
“But with the amount of games Arsenal are going to be playing next season it makes sense to retain at least two of them.”