Arsenal legend Alan Smith believes that the Gunners will struggle to strike a deal with Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. However, he wants them to consider a move for Eric Bailly instead. Arsenal have been on a roll sometimes under Unai Emery as they were unbeaten in 22 matches on the bounce. However, that record is broken now and the Gunners have even fallen off the top four spots with an underwhelming 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

Emery has several concerns over the side and his biggest concern will be the backline with several injuries to his defensive options. Players like Skrodran Mustafi, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Rob Holding all injured and even veteran defender Laurent Koscielny just coming back to action with a serious long-term injury. Hence things are not looking nice for the Spanish boss. Emery has tried several options at the back and has even used Granit Xhaka as a centre-back.

Amidst all of the defensive woes, one thing Emery needs is defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window. The Gunners are looking at several options and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is also in the mix. The Senegal international has been in terrific form and it will require a record transfer fee to secure his signature.

Napoli have already rejected a £91m bid from Manchester United and it is highly unlikely that Arsenal would spend that much amount of money on a single player.


Alan Smith also points out the same thing and believes that the Italian giants will do everything in their power to hold their prized possessions.


“I commentated on the Liverpool vs Napoli game and Koulibaly, the centre-half for Napoli, is very much sought after,” Smith told Express Sport.

“Whether Arsenal can get their clutches in for him, they will all be in for him, or most of the top teams in the Premier League.

“But I doubt if Napoli would let him go in January.”

There are also rumours that Arsenal are keeping close tabs on Manchester United defender Eric Bailly. The Ivorian defender who fell down the pecking down under Jose Mourinho because of his shaky performances has not yet started under the new manager Ole Solskjaer. Despite the fact, Smith believes that the Ivorian has serious potential and will be a lot easier for Arsenal to lure Bailly out of Old Trafford.

“Eric Bailly obviously is of a good age. He came into the United team and did really well.”

“But he is one of a few that got the wrong side of Jose Mourinho it seems, so there is potential there.”

Eric Bailly joined Manchester United back in 2016 from La Liga side Villareal for a fee of around £35m. However he has been hot and cold for the Red Devils and under Mourinho, he has fulfilled his true potential yet. With Mourinho gone, Bailly should now take a decision whether to stay at Old Trafford or move elsewhere. He is only 24 years old and still has a lot of time to prove his doubters and fulfil the potential which was expected