Arsenal are lining up a raid on a top six rival in January as they have their eye on both Manchester United’s Eric Bailly and Chelsea’s Gary Cahill next month, according to the Daily Mirror.
Unai Emery still apparently wants a central defender despite Laurent Koscielny’s return from injury because Rob Holding has been ruled out for the rest of the season and the Spaniard had been keen to play a three-man defensive system of late.
And Bailly and Cahill are among a trio of names on the Gunners’ list, which also includes Real Valladolid’s Fernando Calero, who reportedly has a low buy-out clause in his current contract.
Of the two potential Premier League swoops Emery could make, only signing Bailly makes any real sense.
The Ivorian has all the physical attributes a Premier League defender needs; pace, strength and aerial ability but it appears that Jose Mourinho lost faith in him after United’s 3-2 defeat against Brighton in August.
But Emery has shown himself adept at raising the level of underperforming players already this season and all the raw materials are there with Bailly.
Cahill would be nothing but a short-term option, but question marks remain over whether he can still operate at Premier League level.
His aging legs would not suit Emery’s high line at all and realistically, Arsenal should be beyond signing Chelsea’s cast-offs by now.