Despite the sound form of Per Mertersacker and Laurent Koscielney towards the end of the season, Arsene Wenger seems keen on strengthening his defensive options. Long term target Ashley Williams of Swansea remains very much part of Wenger’s plans, but the Welsh club’s valuation of £10miliion for their captain is not the figure that the Arsenal manager had in mind.
Although Williams would come ‘tried and tested’ as a Premier League player, Arsenal’s traditional reticence to pay what they consider to be over the odds may end up scuppering the deal unless a compromise can be reached. In the meantime, Wenger also has eyes on a young Croat defender who is building a big reputation for himself. Despite only having played just over a dozen first team games for Dinamo Zagreb, Tin Jedvaj has already been called up to train with the national squad, and newspaper reports suggest that Roma recently had a £5million bid rebuffed.
Ever on the lookout for the bargain buy, it’s understood that Wenger was preparing a bid for the 17 year old, but was hoping that he could do this in a low key way, and snaffle the player for a relatively low fee. Roma’s disclosure of their interest has put paid to that however. With the Italians having played the first card, it’s now thought that there will be a few more top line European clubs keen to make a bid for the youngster. Wenger will not want to miss out on Jedvaj. Whilst Williams would be a ‘plug and play’ addition, there is every possibility that whoever secures the Croatian teenager’s services would be likely to buy and loan back to Dinamo for at least one further season. If the deal for the Welshman can be completed, he could be lining up in arsenal’s first fixture of the new season in august, wenger however, very much sees Jedvaj as the longer term prospect.