Back in February, Spanish news outlet El Desmarque had claimed that Arsenal and Tottenham were interested in Real Betis defender Aissa Mandi. (h/t Football Espana)
Aissa Mandi, 28, joined Real Betis in 2016 from French club Reims and has proven to be a consistent performer at the club, managing 48 appearances across all competitions last season. The defender helped Algeria beat Senegal in the Africa Cup of nations in the summer.
In the ongoing campaign, Mandi has made nine La Liga appearances and while Betis find themselves just four points above the relegation zone, the versatile defender has been impressive. That being said, Arsenal must rekindle their interest in him when the transfer window reopens in January.
Aissa Mandi has impressed at Real Betis over the last two campaigns. (Getty Images)
Arsenal have once again been defensively all over the place, leaking goals at an alarming rate. They have conceded 15 goals in 11 Premier League games as Unai Emery continues to lack a plan to stop the opposition from scoring.
The Gunners have frequently been guilty of surrendering the ball too easily in dangerous areas. Against Crystal Palace, both the goals conceded by Arsenal came about as a result of this troubling tendency. Arsenal still lack a commanding and assertive presence at the heart of their defense. Injuries have played a part, but experienced heads like David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi simply ought to do better.
Regardless of William Saliba set to join the club before the start of the 2020/21 campaign, it’s important for Emery to strengthen his options at the back in January itself. To put things into perspective, the North London giants must go for Aissa Mandi.
Mandi is primarily a right-sided central defender but he can also operate on either side of the back four. He is also comfortable playing in a three-man defence and excelled under the tactically astute Quique Setien in 3-5-2 system last campaign.
Arsenal players celebrating their goal against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. (Getty Images)
The Algerian is an excellent passer of the ball, more than capable of bringing it out from the back. As per WhoScored.com, he has averaged 90.3% pass success rate per game in the league that instantly tells how reliable he is on the ball. The Algerian international has also averaged 1.7 interceptions, 1 tackle and 3.4 clearances.
More Arsenal News
- Why Arsenal made a mistake by selling Krystian Bielik in the summer
- Why Arsenal should beat Tottenham to the signing of Joe Gomez
- Why should Arsenal recall Eddie Nketiah from loan
A brilliant passer of the ball, a good reader of the game and fantastic organiser of the backline, Mandi fits the bill perfectly at Arsenal.
At the age of 28, Mandi is operating at the peak of his powers and the time could be right for the Gunners to get him in January. He could solve Emery’s problems at the back, whilst helping the club achieve a top-four finish this season.