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Arsenal has a golden opportunity in front of it to grab a talented defender in Toby Alderweireld. It must take advantage of this opportunity, and make sure to complete the transfer.
After playing the last few years with Ajax Amsterdam, the Belgian national stated that he was considering a move to the English Premier League, per Paul Collins of the Daily Mail:
England and Germany are the best leagues where I think I can take the next step. I have to go somewhere where I can play football a bit and where my style of play suits. On the other hand, I do not want to play for a team at the bottom of their league. I want to leave Ajax for a nice club, otherwise I’ll just stay in Amsterdam.
That last part is where things get interesting. In his report, Collins states that Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are monitoring the situation, with the latter club having targeted the player the longest. However, Alderweireld clearly wants to be a part of the best club possible.
Alderweireld even stated back in December that he is looking to join one of the top clubs in the EPL. According to Gerrit van Leeuwen of Sky Sports, the defender said:
Ajax is a very nice club. It won't be hard to play here all my life - but if I had to choose it have to be a nice club like Ajax again and there aren't many of them. But a club such as Arsenal or Tottenham. They are fantastic clubs and would be a step forward.
While there were not a lot of points separating the three clubs involved during the most recent season, the placement of each in the final standings is a big deal.
Liverpool ended the year in seventh place, while Tottenham was slightly better in fifth. Arsenal finished in fourth place in the league, earning a spot in the Champions League next season—an accomplishment that must seem very attractive to Alderweireld.
Ajax Amsterdam is coming off a year where it finished in first place in the Eredivisie league, while also competing in the UCL. It is unlikely that the defender will want to transfer to a place that will miss out on this achievement when there is another option on the table.
Arsenal seems to be a bit behind in the running for the defender right now, but it needs to push harder to make sure he does not go to a rival club in the league.
Of course, this would not just be a revenge transfer. Alderweireld is a very talented defender who is still improving at only 24 years old. He is a physical player who uses his strength to keep opponents in front of him.
Additionally, he has shown in his short career that he has good accuracy on long passes and often helps lead in counter-attacks for his club.
Grabbing the Belgian will help make Arsenal stronger, while also keeping other squads weak. It is a win-win situation that makes sense for everyone involved.
The club must increase its efforts to acquire Alderweireld and do what it takes to bring him to Emirates Stadium.