Arsenal preparing move for €25 centre-back: He could replace Per Mertesacker

Arsenal are said to be showing huge interest in Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic.

The 25-year-old joined the Naples from Torino, initially on loan in the summer of 2016, before his move became permanent for a fee of €25 million (£22.4 million) in the summer window just gone.

However, Maksimovic’s struglled for regular game-time at the Stadio San Paolo, finding it had to replace Raul Albiol and Kalidou Koulibaly – Maurizio Sarri’s preferred centre-back pairing, at the heart of the backline.

The former Red Star Belgrade centre-back made roughly about 12 appearances across all competition last season, and he has only featured in two appearances this season, with those starts coming in wins over SPAL and Feyenoord respectively.

And according to Guerin Sportivo, via Football Italia, the Gunners are interested in the defender and could well make a January move for him as they look to bring in more options in central defence.

But Arsenal aren’t the only reported side interested in Maksimovic, as Inter Milan are also believed to be vying for his signature.

The Serbian, who is tied with Napoli until 2021, has represented the Serbian National team on 19 occasions – with his most recent appearances being the 1-0 win over Georgia that sealed the Orlovi’s qualification to the World Cup in Russia next year.

Looking at how stack our defence is at the moment, it’s hard to see where he would fit in our defence, as we aren’t particularly short of centre-back options at the moment with the likes of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Laurent Koscielny, Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi and Per Mertesacker all capable of playing three.

However, Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season and will take up a role as the club’s academy boss, who he could replaced but Koscielny is the team best defender but struggling with an achilles injury at the moment but when fit, cannot be replaced.

Koscielny is a doubt for the game against Marco Silva’s side, but as per The Independent, Mustafi is expected to be out until after the next international break in November after suffering a thigh injury in Germany’s 5-1 thumping of Azerbaijan this week.

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