Arsenal are doing an incredible job of not solving their defensive crisis. Given that Arsene Wenger saw both Per Mertesacker and Gabriel struck down by injury during pre-season several weeks ago, you’d think that the Frenchman would be doubly keen to bring in reinforcements ahead of the Premier League season. Of course, you’d be wrong.
In the last week, German centre back Shkodran Mustafi has seemingly been ruled out of a move from Valencia to the Emirates, despite plenty of speculation to the country. The Mirror have reported that Los Che’s manager Palo Ayestaran was adamant last night that they were under no pressure to sell Mustafi, and compounded with news reported in The Telegraph that Jonny Evans, another defensive target has had a £25m price tag slapped upon him by West Bromwich Albion, Wenger’s list of available targets is dwindling.
Of course, the big problem here is that the Frenchman is now so reluctant to spend large sums of money, something his counterpart in the Old Trafford dugout is not. £25m for the Northern Irishman, given that he’s looked so much more assured since he left United 12 months ago may give naysayers extra ammunition to criticise after the club spent £89m on bringing back another certain player who had left the club, but in the case of Evans, why shouldn’t they?
Evans knows the club, for a start. He grew up as part of the club’s academy from a young age and isn’t alien to the pressures of playing at Old Trafford. There’s also something attractive and enjoyable about the notion of a player returning to their original club having proven themselves, as we’ve seen very recently with Paul Pogba, and with Evans having flourished at The Hawthorns, there’s a similar sentiment there. Indeed, Baggies manager Tony Pulls rates Evans so highly that he’s comfortable to smack that £25m price tag on him without hesitation, as a measure of how important he has been for Albion.
Of course, there’s the argument that Evans has actually found his level with his new club, having struggled to stake a claim for a regular starting position under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, so any deal should be approached with that in mind. But, as it appears that United are in the market for another centre back, and they still have plenty of money to spend, why not use it to secure the return of a United youth product?