Reports: Arsenal looking to sign £20m Napoli centre-back in January
What's the story?
According to reports in Italy, Arsenal are looking to sign Napoli centre-back Nikola Maksimovic to strengthen their defence. There is a possibility that he could be a transfer target in January and would cost around £20m if the Gunners do make an approach.
According to Football Italia, the Serbian defender is not only on the radar of Arsenal but also Serie A rivals Inter Milan.
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The 25-year-old centre-back stands at 6'4" and had initially joined Napoli on loan from Torino in the summer of 2016. Maksimovic has the ability to play either in defence or as a defensive midfielder.
The heart of the matter
Maksimovic has not been able to break into the Napoli lineup yet with Maurizio Sarri playing Raul Albiol and Kalidou Koulibaly as the two centre-backs in a back four.
While Napoli have done well this season - the only team left in Europe's top leagues with a perfect record (8 wins in 8 games) - Maksimovic has been left on the bench, making an appearance only in the Champions League.
Despite his height, Maksimovic is quite adept at dribbling and is not afraid to dribble past a player when he sees an opportunity. He also has good vision on the pitch and can pick out a player on the other side of the pitch with ease.
On the defensive side, he averaged 2.6 tackles and 3.9 interceptions a game during his time at Torino and the lack of game time at Napoli has seen him struggle to attain similar numbers at the Stadio San Paolo.
Video: Maksimovic's highlights at Torino
Maksimovic looks like the kind of player Wenger would like to have. He is intelligent at reading the game and makes crucial interventions before attacking moves can develop.
The fact that he is strong with the ball at his feet suggests he will fit well into the Arsenal squad. With Per Mertesacker retiring at the end of the season and Shkodran Mustafi also possibly departing after a failed move this summer, the Gunners desperately need defensive reinforcements.
Buying him in January will give him tome to adapt to the Premier League before he gets a possible permanent spot in the lineup from the 2018/19 season onwards.