According to Croatian daily newspapers “Sportske Novosti”, Arsenal are runners-up in the race to sign 17-year-old central defender Tin Jedvaj.
The Croatian Maldini, as he was dubbed by some Italian media, made his senior debut for Dinamo Zagreb this year and has played just 1170 minutes in 13 games for the Croatian champions. During that time he scored his first senior goal in a 1:0 victory against Cibalia away. He has been a regular member of the U21 and U19 categories of the Croatian national team.
The same source claims that Arsenal are ready to pay 6 million euros for the centre half but Dinamo Zagreb are more open to the offer from AS Roma. The Italian side apparently offered less money (5 million euros) but with add-on clauses that includes a sell-on fee percentage which is a more attractive offer for the excellent sellers the Mamić Brothers (controversial Zdravko and the less controversial Zoran Mamić). The duo know how to make money out of young players but also for the player himself as he wouldn’t have a regular place in Arsenal and would have been sent to loan. However Croatian journalists claim Jedvaj is going to sign for Roma in the next few days, although the player himself said on his Facebook-profile that he doesn’t know anything about the transfer to Roma.
“Sportske Novosti” conclude the part regarding Arsenal by noting that in knowing they are going to lose the race with Roma for Jedvaj’s signature, they have turned their attention to young Portuguese central defender Tiago Ilori.
Ilori is 20-year-old ball-playing central defender from Sporting Club de Portugal. He has also been targeted by Liverpool for some time. The centre back has been described as player who is strong in the air and elegant with the ball, despite his height (1.90 m). That would fit perfectly into Wenger’s type of football.
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Now, if I have to make a choice, I would go with Ilori for a various set of reasons. He has played in a much stronger league than Jedvaj and he wouldn’t need that much time to settle. Also the last central defender that went from Dinamo to a top European league was Dejan Lovren and it has not worked out for him yet (he is going to play for Southampton next season).
After all, whoever comes as a central defender to our current team would share the place on the bench with Thomas Vermaelen as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny looked rock-solid in the brilliant run-in.
If reports about Arsenal’s offer for Jedvaj and Ilori are true (and the first one is a bit suspicious to me given that we have been connected with Dinamo Zagreb players in the past – Halilović, Kovačić, Vrsaljko, even Modrić – but neither of them signed for us, apart from Eduardo, so it might be that we’ve been used as a bait for other clubs), does it mean that we are pulling out of the race for Ashley Williams? Reports suggested that the difference between our offer and what Swansea ask for him is only 2 million pounds. I have my doubts about Williams’ quality but he is, at least, an experienced central defender.
What do you think about the aforementioned defenders? Do we need another central defender given that Ignasi Miquel is waiting for his chance? Feel free to comment below!