Following Arsene Wenger’s comment after the Boreham pre-season friendly on Saturday that the club is still looking to bring in a centre half, reports have emerged that Arsenal are interested in signing Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic. The 21 year old had a stellar first season with the Etihad Stadium outfit when he arrived in the summer of 2012, but had a difficult second season where his time at City was blighted by injuries and loss of form. With the eminent signing of French defender, Eliaquim Mangala from Porto, the future of the Serbian defender has been thrown into doubt.
The emergence of this news has not come as a coincidence with the future of Thomas Vermaelen still uncertain, with Arsenal having been linked to Manchester United over the past month.
Matija Nastastic comes with a reputation of being a versatile defender who play in several positions across the back line, mostly notably at left back. With the rumours linking Nacho Monreal to Spain, the Manchester City defender can come in to do a job in two positions across the backline.
However, despite this link, the chances of this transfer coming to fusion might be slim, as Manchester City could be reluctant to sell a player to a direct rival, especially a young player who is yet to reach it peak years. They might consider selling him to a club outside of England or a lesser club in the Premier League. But with a previous history of doing transfer business before that involved he transfers of Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri, the Etihad Stadium might be keen to do business with Arsenal after all, but the chances looks slim.
With this link comes the inevitable question of Thomas Vermaelen’s future. It is rarely this case for a club to have a non playing captain who is still at the peak of his powers. The link of Nastastic assuming it ends up as full fledge transfer, would mean the club would have done away with the services of a non playing captain. With just a one year left on his contract and Arsene Wenger’s economics of football, he might decide to let go of Thomas Vermaelen.
Matija Nastastic has been used to being rotated and also used to not playing all the time at Manchester City, if the club can bring him in, they will be getting a player who has adapted to playing behind an established partnership in defence.