Arsenal and Liverpool defensive target, Toby Alderweireld appears to be slipping farther away from our grasp as Southampton are set to keep him at the St. Mary’s beyond the summer on a permanent deal according to reports.
The 23 year old Belgian defender is on a season-long loan from La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid and has admitted his pleasure at being part of Ronald Koeman’s impressive start to the season. Together with team captain Jose Fonte, Alderweireld has been a rock in the Saints defence, an attribute which had seen him linked with a move to Arsenal while he was still playing in the Eredivisie with Ajax.
He opted for a move to Madrid but did not manage to be favoured over Miranda or Diego Godin in Diego Simeone’s conquering squad last term and was snapped up by Koeman on loan this season. The Saints lost Dejan Lovren and found a suitable temporary replacement in Toby, and are now plotting to make him permanent.
This decision by Toby is sure to come as a huge blow as Red boss Brendan Rodgers will be looking to strengthen his defensive back line in the Winter.
Wenger is sure to be disappointed if the defender chooses to stay with the Saints, as against a potential move to the Emirates. The Gunners boss is in the most injury devastated period of his eighteen year Arsenal reign, with as many as 8 first team players including Laurent Koscielny. The team is terribly short of defenders, especially in central defence where Wenger refused to improve that area
Le Prof will have to continue his bid to ‘rectify’ the crisis by looking at other targets, like Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk. Wenger had said he acknowleged the shortage and would not let the January window pass without addressing it.
“We tried to buy one more defender, but we didn’t find one.”
With a date against Anderlecht on Wednesday, he confirmed that French defender, Laurent Koscielny would miss the game as he did miss Hull, with the aggravation of the strain in his Achilles. Calum Chambers would be available for selection after serving his suspension for five yellow cards in the League. Nacho Monreal and, vice cap, Per Mertesacker as the only senior defenders in the squad – underlining the dire shortage at the rear.
Van Dijk is the latest in a long list of names that will be reeled in the rumour mill for the next 10 weeks, so that Wenger will not have any excuses of the non-availability of options. The Metro reports that he will cost us around #8m, which will be good news to Wenger (and Gooners) as we would still have some £12m to splash on one smash-and-grab addition elsewhere in the team.
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