Arsenal are reportedly ready to battle neighbours Tottenham Hotspur for Ajax defender Joel Veltman in the summer, according to reports in the Telegraph.
The 22 year old centre-back has made 24 appearances in the Dutch Eredivisie this season scoring two goals and has been scouted by a host of Premier League clubs.
The report states that Arsenal are likely to lose Thomas Vermaelen during the summer and the Gunners are considering a number of possible replacements this summer with Veltman being top of that list.
Tottenham are also interested and rumours earlier suggested that Holland manager Louis Van Gaal was keen to make the Dutch international his first signing at White Hart Lane. But with Van Gaal now set to take over at Manchester United, Arsenal are aiming to pip their north London rivals to the young defender’s signing.
He made his international debut last year against Colombia, but has yet to add to his tally. He is reportedly valued at around £5 million. He’s a product of Ajax’s famed academy, making over 40 appearances in the first-team since his breakthrough last season. He has been in and around the national team all season, but has been an unused sub for the Netherlands in games against Japan & France.
The Gunners are believed to be in the market for centre-backs this summer, as Vermaelen is likely to leave the club in the summer in search of first team football, leaving behind just Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Veltman is not as versatile as Vermaelen, he plays exclusively as a centre-half.
He is a specialist at defending as he wins a remarkable 66 percent of his duels and his tackle success rate of 57 percent is superior to that of Vermaelen. He’s also very comfortable on the ball and can dribble too which is a very rare commodity for central defenders while he has a outstanding passing accuracy of 89 percent.
He is just 22 and still has plenty of time to improve, but he’s already achieved plenty in his young career. He is not a big name defender, but neither were Vermaelen or Koscielny when they arrived. The Gunners need to provide competition for their first-choice defensive pairing and I think Veltman will perfectly fit that bill.
Can Arsenal move quickly and snatch him up? Share your thoughts in the comments below.