As this summer’s Premier League transfer window draws to a close, most would consider Arsenal to have done good business. New boss Unai Emery appears to have identified the team’s weaknesses in previous seasons and made bold moves to rectify them, with the likes of Lucas Torreira, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Bernd Leno already looking like smart buys.
Still, if reports are to be believed, he’s not done yet.
A late enquiry into the availability of Croatia international Domagoj Vida is said to have been made and, having been encouraged by Besiktas reasonable £26.9m valuation, the Gunners are minded to push ahead with a deadline day deal.
Watchers of this summer’s World Cup will be more than familiar with the 29-year-old’s playing style. A heart-pumping, all or nothing style of defender, he left a lasting impression with his unique haircut and no-nonsense demeanour.
The question remains, however, over how good he actually is. One swallow does not make a summer, and one World Cup does not necessarily make a top-class player.
|CLUB Besiktas||AGE 29Y 2M|
|POS DEF||HEIGHT 6FT 0IN|
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The signs from last season’s campaign in the Turkish Süper Lig are somewhat encouraging. The former Dynamo Kyiv man played in just 13 of Beşiktaş' 34 Turkish Süper Lig matches last season, but their performances improved significantly with him in the side.
It’s intriguing that average goals scored per game rocketed from 1.6 to 2.8 and, while this could simply be a coincidence, there’s also a strong explanation for this.
As we saw for Croatia this summer, Vida is a player that provides a solid enough defensive platform for those in front of him to go forward and express themselves. They need not worry too much about getting back to support him. This brought out the best in Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić, and the same happened for Beşiktaş' last term. Given Arsenal’s assembled midfield talents, it’s easy to see what an asset this quality could be.
Clearly, a move to the Premier League would be a big step up for Vida. His 1 appearance for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga is currently his only experience of one of Europe’s top leagues. He does, however, give the impression of a player matured, a late bloomer.
In today’s market £26.9m is a great price for a World Cup finalist and, come the end of this season, this is one late move which could very smart indeed.
The Acca Smacker
For fans across the continent, the excitement is building. A new season is here and optimism is rife. Will new signings stun? Will titles be won? Everyone hopes, but nobody knows. Domestic football’s back, and we could be happier.
KickOff’s unique Acca Smacker is also making a timely return, bringing you Predictions, Form Streaks and Form Stats for every market, every match and every top competition. We’ve made building a winning bet so easy it feels like cheating, so why not have a go below and give those bookies a bashing?