According to Corriere Torino, Arsenal are looking to Italian centre back Daniele Rugani as a solution to their defensive issues this summer. The Gunners are looking to secure the Juventus defender on a loan deal with an option to buy at the end of the spell.
Rugani could see his game time at the Allianz Stadium slashed after the big-money arrival of Matthijs De Ligt this summer, and Arsenal would be taking a gamble on the 25-year-old.
I say the north London club would be taking a gamble on Rugani because although signing the 6ft 2 Italian international sounds like a significant bit of business, he is still relatively inexperienced at the top level. In the five years since he joined The Old Lady, Rugani has only made 125 appearances, with 39 of those being back on loan at Empoli.
Arsenal have been in the market for a centre back all summer; however, their defensive issues have only gotten worse during pre-season, as club captain Laurent Koscielny is looking to leave after refusing to travel to America with Unai Emery’s squad. Although the club have secured the services of William Saliba from Saint Etienne, he will spend next year back at the French outfit.
With reports that Roma are interested in Shkodran Mustafi (fingers crossed) and Konstantinos Mavropanos being loaned back to Greece before the window shuts, the need for centre backs is probably at its peak for the Gunners.
Thankfully, Rugani is relatively reliable with injuries, only having a handful of absences over the past three years. The lack of injuries could potentially give the north London club a continuity at the heart of the defence, something that was hard to come by last season.
The Italy international is, by all means, a ball-playing defender, averaging 51 passes per game with 90% accuracy. The Juventus defender is also relatively disciplined, while he often gives away fouls, he does not dive into tackles, unlike Mustafi who loves flying into challenges.
Rugani could also add to the aerial threat at the Emirates, at 6ft 2 he is a towering defender and could be a threat from set-pieces, scoring three headers in the past two seasons. The former Empoli defender averages 3.9 aerial duels per game and wins 2.7 of those duels, meaning he is more than capable of dominating in the air.
While Rugani seems like the perfect defender for Emery’s style of play, the lack of game time over the past few years could see Arsenal get a defender lacking real match sharpness, and that could be detrimental to the Gunners’ defence. However, if Emery provides Rugani regular game time we could see the 25-year-old return to the form of 2015 that Juve were so interested in.