Transfer Talk: Simakan signing can bolster Gunners' backline
Arsenal are reportedly planning to swoop for RB Leipzig defender Mohamed Simakan this summer.
The 23-year-old has put in a string of impressive performances this season, helping his side push into the top four of the Bundesliga.
Mikel Arteta will be keen to bolster his defensive options given they have been exposed at the back since William Saliba picked up an injury two months ago.
Ahead of the Gunners' trip to Nottingham Forest, we assess whether Simakan's potential move to the capital could improve their fortunes next season.
Arsenal's title push has collapsed since Saliba was sidelined with a lower back injury.
The Gunners were a tightly-run operation — they conceded just 25 times in the 27 Premier League matches in which the centre-back started.
Incredibly, Arteta's side have conceded 17 goals in their nine matches without the Frenchman.
Simakan would provide some much-needed depth if Arsenal ever find themselves in a similar situation.
Simakan has put in some fantastic performances for Leipzig this season.
He has made 18 tackles, 14 interceptions and won possession back in the defensive third 40 times in 2022-23.
The Frenchman is also the right kind of profile — like Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, he is comfortable operating at both centre-back and right-back.
Arteta clearly targets defenders who offer versatility, both for their ability to cover multiple positions and capacity to carry out the inverted full-back role, which is so crucial to his system.
Simakan initially broke through at Strasbourg before moving to Leipzig — and the French club's director of training Francois Keller compared him to compatriot Raphael Varane.
He said: "We quickly realised that we were dealing with a phenomenon.
"He tore the place up. I said to myself that we had the new Varane. He was athletic, powerful, assured and calm."
Defence under fire
Arteta has really struggled to fill the hole left by Saliba.
The Basque boss has had to call upon Rob Holding and Jakub Kiwior, with Tomiyasu also sidelined.
Holding's lack of pace has caused issues, while Kiwior made a huge mistake for Julio Enciso's opener in the 3-0 defeat to Brighton last weekend.
The Pole went down after feeling he had been fouled and subsequently gifted the Seagulls forward a free header.
Jamie Carragher was furious with Saliba's understudy.
The ex-Liverpool defender posted online: "It was embarrassing that Kiwior stayed down whether it was a foul or not.
"There was very little wrong with him. Get up and defend like your life depends on it."
City Ground clash
Arsenal visit the City Ground this afternoon sitting four points off top spot, while Manchester City still have a game in hand.
The title dream, barring a miracle, is over for the Gunners but it has still been a season full of massive improvement.
Recruiting a talent like Simakan may be the boost that the North Londoners need to go all the way next season.
City can depend on their deep squad to account for injuries but Arteta has not been able to do the same — and that desperately needs to change.