Could it be that Arsene Wenger has finally come to his senses? With the signing of Marouane Chamakh the Arsenal manager may be embarking on a policy to correct last summers transfer wrongs.
The past June saw the Arsenal manager make a highly publicised move for Cristian Zapata, Udinese’s 23 year old Colombian central defender. If the reports in todayâ€™s papers are to be believed, Wenger is determined to finally get his man with a renewed bid when the transfer window opens.
Zapataâ€™s stay at his first professional club was brief. He only made 17 appearances at Deportivo Cali, before his athleticism and ability to play in both full-back positions as well as a central defender caught Udinese’s attention and a transfer was quickly arranged.
The Colombian adapted well to the demands of Serie A and established himself as a pillar of the defence in his new team. In all he has made 108 appearances and scored two goals.
His form with the Zebrettes has caught the attention of all the top clubs. The player himself feels that it is time to take a step up from a Europa League team to a Champions League outfit.
Zapata stands at 6ft 2 inches and combines strength, athleticism and aggressiveness, enabling him to dominate opposition attackers. He can win the ball both in the air or on the deck, anticipate the strikers actions and terminate them.
As with many young defenders Zapata can sometimes be lazy and give the opposition half a yard head-start before using his athleticism to snuff out the danger. If this is eliminated from his game he could become a complete centre back.
Wenger made a Â£9.5 million bid last summer which was rejected. A year on and with the player claiming he is ready for a bigger challenge Udinese may be willing to do a deal at around Â£12 million.
Although able to play in all positions along the defence Wenger is primarily looking at him as a central defender.
If a deal is concluded Arsenal may finally have a central defensive partnership that could last for the best part of a decade.