Reports emanating from Germany suggest that Arsenal are tracking SV Hamburg star Jerome Boateng. In the past month Arsene Wenger has sent scouts to SV Hamburgâ€™s matches as he looks to strengthen his defence for next season.
With Johan Djourou and Thomas Vermaelen the only central defenders under 30 who have a chance of making the team, Wenger is looking to infuse some youth into the heart of the back-line.
Boateng began his career at 13 with Hertha BSC. After emerging from the youth team set-up, he progressed to the full team squad and at barely 18 he made his debut in the Bundesliga. In the 2006-2007 he made 10 appearances in the first team.
His emergence alerted some of Germanyâ€™s biggest teams and Boateng refused to sign a five year contract with Hertha, opting to sign with Hamburg instead.
Since the switch Boateng has made 66 appearances for his new club. This season he has appeared 28 times scoring 2 goals. The defender is a powerful and typical no-nonsense defender who puts his 6ft 3in frame to good use and is not afraid to stick in a tackle.
Boatengâ€™s versatility is another great attribute. He can play in the centre of defence or either full-back position. He has gained a reasonable amount of experience in the Bundesliga whose style of football is comparable to that of the Premier League.
Like all young defenders he does need to be watchful of his positioning, but that will improve with experience. Given his height, he should be more of a threat from set-pieces. Nevertheless, his potential has helped him win three international caps, although he is unlikely to be included in Germanyâ€™s Word Cup squad.
It will take Â£11 million to prise him from Hamburg, but this transfer tag falls comfortably into Arsenalâ€™s transfer policy, where a premium is paid for young players with outstanding potential. Making it probable that if he continues his good form a formal approach will be made.
There is only sparse footage of Boateng in action online, but happily we can bring one of only two goals he has scored this season against Anderlecht in the Europa League (watch here, first goal on the video) as well as footage of Boateng carving England U21 open to tee up Gonzalo Castro at the 2009 European Championships.