Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reportedly has scouts monitoring Genoa defender Sime Vrsaljko this season as he considers his long-term options at right-back, according to reports in Mirror.
Bacary Sagna is in the final year of his deal at the Emirates and could depart as a free agent at the end of the season. The club are keen for the Frenchman to agree fresh terms but he is likely to receive offers from elsewhere, with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco both credited with interest. Arsenal consequently have set their sights on Vrsaljko as a potential replacement to compete with Carl Jenkinson.
The 21-year-old has impressed in his brief time with Genoa, having joined the Italian side from Dinamo Zagreb in July, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is understood to be keeping a close eye on Vrsaljko’s progress. He already has seven caps for Croatia, and has demonstrated admirable ability in both defence and going forward.
The Gunners were first linked with a move for the Croatian this summer, whilst he was playing at Dinamo Zagreb. The likes of Manchester City were also after him but in the end the Croatian international moved to Italy for a fee believed to be in the region of £3.5 (€4) million.
He is predominantly a right back, but has also played on the left for the Croatia U17 side. He has the stamina to cover an entire wing on his own, providing solidity and energy to the defence. He is also taller than the average full back enabling him to be dominant in the air.
The 6 ft 1 in starlet is an asset going forward and possess immense speed for a wing back. He makes himself available on the overlap and has a crisp, consistent cross. Being Croatian he has the vision and technique to play decisive passes to the forwards. This guy doesn’t bomb in to the area then lose his way.
He is now reportedly valued at £7.5 (€10) million which is more than double what Genoa paid for him, but whether the 21-year old would be willing to move just six months after settling in Italy remains to be seen.
Sagna’s contract situation will decide whether or not the Gunners will make a move for Vrsaljko. The Frenchmen has often stated that he wants to stay but somehow both parties haven’t been able to agree on a contract and the defender appears to be holding out for a longer contract than Wenger’s traditional 1-year extension rule for over 30’s. He has been immense this season and I think he definitely deserves a contract extension, but if negotiations fail then Vrsaljko is definitely a viable option to replace him.
Would you prefer to see us sign Vrsaljko or extend Sagna’s contract? Or perhaps both? Share your thoughts in the comments below.