Arsenal: 5 players who could follow Unai Emery there

With Emery widely expected to become the new Gunners manager, he could bring more than just experience and tactical know-how with him to North London.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

With the manager’s chair still warm, the Gunners appear to have trained their sights on a new French manager to replace Arsène Wenger. 

The heavily experienced and tactically flexible form of Unai Emery is reportedly set to move into Islington by the end of this week, bringing with him hopes he can drill some organisation into a squad of players who have continuously failed to live up to their full potential.

Having just ended his two-year stay in the Qatari-gilded dressing room of Paris, Emery had earlier earned his reputation in La Liga with Valencia and Sevilla, two cash-strapped clubs that sandwiched a short and disastrous move to Spartak Moscow.

The common denominator between all of these clubs was Emery’s limited involvement with transfer dealings. 

However, from the unsuccessful Grzegorz Krychowiak to the much better acquisition of centre-back Nicolás Pareja, Emery does have a history of bringing players with him between clubs. 

We look at some possible targets who could also be on Arsenal’s radar to join them this summer.

  1. 1 Presnel Kimpembe

    REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    Central defence was Arsenal’s biggest problem of last season, a problem which will need addressing by the signing of at least one new player. 

    At 22, Kimpembe may well be a similar age to Calum Chambers and Rob Holding but he did gain more experience than either of them last season. 

    Emery showed a lot of faith in the Parisian academy player, notably preferring him to start in the Champions League tie against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu ahead of club captain Thiago Silva.

    As a player who has been with the club since the age of 10, it remains to be seen if the defender will want to make a move to the Premier League, or if Paris Saint Germain would be willing to see a promising star head for the exit. 

    However, after missing out of this summer’s World Cup squad he could potentially see this as an opportunity for a new challenge with a manager who has greatly developed his game.

  2. 2 Éver Banega

    Another player who has already followed Emery is Banega, an Argentinian midfielder who could add some much-needed steel into the spine of the Gunners team. 

    While predominantly known as a creative midfielder, Banega can also play a deeper-lying role where he can orchestrate play and dictate the side’s tempo.

    With the loss of Santi Cazorla, this is a role which Arsenal are currently in need of filling with Jack Wilshere too injury-prone to be relied upon for a full season.

    While his disciplinary record is questionable, his tough-tackling and will to win is exactly what many Arsenal fans have been craving for the past few seasons.

  3. 3 Sergio Rico

    A new goalkeeper is also a strong possibility for Arsenal this summer with Petr Čech looking to be near the end of his glittering career. 

    While Kevin Trapp has stated his intentions to leave Paris in the near future, he’s unlikely to want to follow the manager who replaced him with Alphonse Areola halfway through his first season in charge.

    Instead, Sergio Rico of Sevilla is a much stronger possibility for the Gunners. The 24-year-old has enjoyed a strong start to his career with his childhood side, however, he has caught the attention of several top European clubs in doing so. 

    With Sevilla not in the Europa League next season, a move to Arsenal could be seen as a step up for a player who looks set to have a great future ahead of him.

  4. 4 Steven N'Zonzi

    REUTERS/Jon Nazca

    After spending time with both Blackburn and then Stoke in the Premier League, N'Zonzi moved to Sevilla where he’s spent the past three seasons. 

    His first season proved a difficult transition for the defensive midfielder but, with Emery’s help, he came into good form during the second half of that season.

    Now a firmly established name in La Liga and a part of France’s 23-man World Cup squad heading out to Russia, N'Zonzi could well prove to be the powerful midfielder which Arsenal need to knit their defence together.

    Heavily linked with a move to Arsenal in January, a move could still be pushed through despite new manager Vincenzo Montella’s insistence that N'Zonzi is a key player in his team. 

    A player who brings calm and organisation into the heart of a team, he could also prove to be a key player for the Gunners if they can finally seal a deal for him.

  5. 5 Thomas Meunier

    REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    With Paris Saint Germain’s ever-revolving squad, there could well be some surprise additions and exits from the French capital this summer. Their stalwart right-back could well prove to be one such surprise.

    Having become one of the star players in the team, Meunier has recently fallen foul with the club’s fans over a Twitter disagreement in which he praised the supporters of Olympique de Marseille, his club’s bitter rivals.

    Too stubborn to step back from his stance, Meunier is currently being roundly booed by a large section of Parisian's who dislike the level of respect some of their players or being perceived as showing.

    With Arsenal having no specialist cover for Héctor Bellerín, a player who keeps being linked with a move away from North London, Arsenal could cash in on Paris Saint Germain’s unfortunate problem and steal one of their valuable assets.

    Who are we missing? Let us know by commenting below.

  1. Poll: Who will most likely follow Emery to the Emirates?

    1. Presnel Kimpembe
    2. Ever Banega
    3. Sergio Rico
    4. Steven N'Zonzi
    5. Thomas Meunier
    191 votes
    Share Your Result

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