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Recent reports claim that Arsenal have now joined the race to sign West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans and would give a stiff competition to Manchester City, who have been the Irishman’s long-term admirers. West Bromwich Albion have already lost Jonas Olsson this summer and are unwilling to give away Evans so easily.
Arsenal have started their season in the worst defensive way possible, conceding eight goals in the opening three games, which has made a proven centre half and defensive midfielder the immediate priorities in the next two days. And Jonny Evans, if anything, fits the bill by all means. The Gunners are on the verge of sending Shkodran Mustafi to Inter Milan on loan and would need a player in his place.
Although Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is reported by many to be on his way to the Emirates, Arsenal would still need to compete with Liverpool for his signature. The Reds have been warned once already for illegally trying to poach the Dutch centre half, though, and it shouldn’t be a problem for the Gunners. However, Arsenal would still need Evans after they decided to sell Gabriel Paulista to La Liga side Valencia and would need a replacement for him.
Arsene Wenger, at the moment, is left with just Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker at the back as feasible defensive options. While the likes of young Rob Holding and Calum Chambers are available down the pecking order, Wenger dare not rely on them more in a make or break season for him.
Evans, alongside Koscielny and Mertesacker, could be a decent trio against most big sides in the league. The Northern Ireland international has been a subject of interest to Arsenal for the past one year as per Tony Pulis but the Gunners never made a concrete offer for him.
Former Premier League champions Leicester City had made a bid of £21 million for Evans previously but the Baggies rejected it this week, and with City and Arsenal vying for him, the Foxes have little chance. Reportedly, West Brom are demanding at least £30 million for Evans, which is likely to be proposed by Manchester City.
Both Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger are under tremendous pressure to sign a centre half and Evans could see his valuation rise up in the next few hours. Evans is known for his disciplined and consistent defending, something Arsenal haven’t seen for months now and his arrival could be Wenger’s most important signing this season.
Evans is currently training at City’s CFA base with the Northern Ireland side, who play their World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Friday and the Czech Republic in Belfast three days later.