On Tuesday we reported that Arsenal were interested in signing Stuttgart’s central defender Serdar Tasci and we questioned whether this would solve the north London clubâ€™s defensive fragilities. However a couple of days later and it appears that the Tasci rumour may have been a smokescreen for The Professorâ€™s real target, Naldo.
Arsenal fans have been wondering when Wenger will sign a player similar to Liverpoolâ€™s Daniel Agger or Manchester Unitedâ€™s Nemanja Vidic. Well Arsenal fans your wait may be over and your club may be about to sign a central defender who has the physical strength to handle Didier Drogba as well as deal with Roque Santa Cruzâ€™s aerial threat.
Naldo is a 6ft 3inch central defender currently excelling at Werder Breman. Since his arrival in 2005 he has been an almost ever-present in the first team and has become its defensive linchpin. He has made 124 appearances netting 14 goals with five of those coming last season, and has even scored a hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt. (Watch here and here.) In the international arena, Naldo has won eight caps for Brazil.
The Die GrÃ¼n-WeiÃŸen have enjoyed success with Naldo marshalling the defence. They finished runners-up in the Bundersliga for two successive seasons and finished as UEFA Cup runners-up last year losing in extra-time to Shakhtar Donetsk, a game in which Naldo scored. (Watch here.)
Christened â€œthe ox,â€ Naldo possesses great athleticism combined with physical strength. His aforementioned aerial ability makes him a threat at corners and set pieces as well as enabling him to win battles at the back.
According to the gossip columns Naldo is available for â‚¬10 million – which looks like a bargain for a proven international with Champions League experience who still has the best years of his career ahead of him.
His coach Thomas Schaaf believes that he is one of the most talented defenders he has seen and is quoted on the record as saying that Arsenal are interested in Naldo and that the club is willing to do business.
Schaaf: “Naldo is a great athlete and could do well at the right club, unfortunately he doesn’t fit the direction we’re planning to move in any longer. We expect to move him for somewhere in the region of â‚¬10 million, and English side Arsenal is as of now the most likely destination.”
This quote can be seen as trying to instigate a bidding war for the defender and Wenger may have to act quickly. He should get his tent out and not leave until he has finally signed a successor to Sol Campbell.