Florian Lejeune

Following four losses in five games with 10 goals conceded, it’s clear that Arsenal are struggling at the back.
Shkodran Mustafi started well but his form has dropped recently, Gabriel inspires little confidence and Per Mertesacker has only just recovered from injury, while a back four without Laurent Koscielny doesn’t even bare thinking about.
This defensive instability has seen Arsenal cast their eyes across Europe for a new central defender and it appears they have found their man.
Eibar have been La Liga’s surprise package this season, currently sitting 8th in the table. French centre-back Florian Lejeune has played a key role in the club’s success this campaign, with Arsene Wenger reportedly ready to trigger his release of £8.7 million release clause this summer.
His form this season has come as a surprise to many, probably including Lejeune himself.
Having impressed as a youngster for French seventh-tier side Istres, he secured a move to Villarreal in 2011 but spent the majority of his time at the club playing for the B team, managing just five first team appearances.
A loan spell at Brest in his homeland was followed by a permanent switch to La Liga 2 side Girona. One season, 40 games and five goals later, Manchester City swooped for him in 2015 but, he was immediately loaned back to Girona, playing 39 games last season.
This summer saw him exit City without ever playing a game for the club as he signed for current side SD Eibar, where he has established himself as a key figure and one of the best defenders in Spain.
Standing at 6ft 3in, Lejeune provides a big physical presence, something Arsenal have lacked for many a season. His height and power has seen him win 77% of his headers this term and he would bring a much needed aerial presence to the Emirates backline, especially when facing the annual bombardments at West Brom and Stoke City.
Lejeune has won 28 of tackles this season, less than every Arsenal centre-half but, I quoted Paolo Maldini a few weeks back and I’ll quote the great Italian once again, if you have to make a tackle then you’ve already made a mistake.
64 interceptions, 14 blocks and 139 clearances clearly highlight his talent, and while he is outperformed by compatriot Koscielny in all these areas, he has posted slightly better numbers than Mustafi.
76% pass completion is a bit of a worry as we all know that distributing from the back and keeping the ball is the ‘Arsenal way’ but, as with every player, that’s something Lejeune can work on.
At 25-years-old, Lejeune is still to hit his prime and could prove to be both an ideal long-term replacement for Laurent Koscielny and the perfect partner for Shkodran Mustafi, while having three quality, reliable centre-backs in the squad next season is very much needed.
At just £8.7 million and with reported interest from the lot down the road, Tottenham Hotspur, I would be more than happy to see him move to the Emirates.
We missed out on Jan Vertonghen a few season back and while TY from ArsenalFanTv will have you believe he’s not that great, we must be honest, he’s a top defender and we really could have done with him over the past couple of seasons.
Let’s not make the same mistake with Lejeune this summer.

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