The countdown to the start of the new Premier League season is officially underway.
There is now just over a month to go until Arsenal, who kicked-off their pre-season campaign with a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Hibernian at Easter Road on Tuesday evening, start the new season against newly-promoted Brentford.
The new campaign will represent Arsenal with the chance to start afresh and look to move on from a disappointing campaign last season that saw them finish eighth in the table, resulting in them missing out on a place in Europe for the first time in 25 years.
But in a bid to avoid that happening again anytime soon, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, alongside technical director Edu, is desperate to strengthen his armoury in a number of different positions, with the Spaniard looking to oversee one of the biggest overhauls the Emirates Stadium has seen in years.
So far, the Gunners have got just one new signing over the line in the form of Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares, but several others are expected to follow suit, with the next arrival poised to be highly-rated Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga. Once his arrival in north London is confirmed, Arsenal will be hoping that they can get a deal for Brighton & Hove Albion star Ben White over the line.
The Gunners have been in discussions for several weeks with Brighton over a transfer, but although no agreement has yet been reached between the two clubs, football.london understands that Arsenal remain confident about signing him, meaning he would prove to be a huge statement signing if it was to happen.
However, it does appear that the Gunners, who face Scottish giants Rangers in their next pre-season friendly on Saturday, are keeping their options open when it comes to strengthening their central-defensive options. That is because, according to a report by Foot Mercato in France, Arsenal have made an enquiry for Paris Saint-Germain defender Thilo Kehrer.
Signed from German club Schalke in 2018, the 24-year-old has not been able to make as much progress in Paris as he would have liked, and that is not expected to change following the arrival of Sergio Ramos last week.
Arsenal, according to the report, are looking to capitalise on that situation and attempt to lure the German to north London, although a deal for the defender, who has two years remaining on his contract, is not likely to come cheap, with Kehrer valued at £17million by the CIES Football Observatory.
However, if Arsenal were to listen to Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel’s verdict on the centre-back they could well be tempted. That is because, three years ago, Tuchel waxed lyrical about Kehrer’s ability and professionalism.
“Thilo is a very committed player, very professional,” said Tuchel, speaking back in August 2018. “I like his personality; he already has a certain maturity as he’s captain of Germany’s Under-21 side.
“He’s quick, able to play in any of the four positions at the back, is two-footed, and can even play as a defensive midfielder. He’s the sort of player any coach would like to have.”
With Tuchel having delivered an assessment like that of Kehrer’s talents, could Arsenal be better suited to pursuing a move for him, opposed to White, even though the Gunners may think that they are now too far down the line with their pursuit of White to back out?
Possibly. Admittedly, White is slightly younger and it may be considered that his ceiling is higher, but Kehrer is almost certainly going to be far cheaper to sign, has more big-game experience and, just as White can, play in multiple positions.
With all of that in mind, chasing a move for the PSG star may be a sensible decision as he would tick a lot of boxes and save Arsenal a fair amount of money to splash out on other targets.