Arsenal recently tabled a £10 million offer for Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka, and as my fellow blogger Mike Holmes stated a couple of days back, it was a very worthy first bid made by the Gunners.
Everton are in no mood to accept such offers and have reportedly asked Arsenal to come back with an offer of around £20 million if they want to sign the England international – an amount which doubles the initial offer Arsenal tabled.
But should Arsenal go to the extent of making a £20 million bid for Jagielka?
Is he a good option for Arsene Wenger to pursue?
Well in all honesty, I am finding it difficult to find the right answer here.
I am pretty sure Wenger would have studied the pros and cons of signing Jagielka by now. I am also sure (if Wenger decides to go for him) that the Frenchman has the negotiation skills to secure a deal in the region of £14-15 million, and if there is any club that is in need of money, it is Everton.
Given the resources available to Moyes, it was a fantastic result for the Toffees to finish seventh last season. But, if they are to compete against fierce rivals Liverpool this season and challenge for a Europa League spot, they need serious investment in the squad. So a £15 million offer for Jagielka will be extremely tempting for the Merseyside club.
But what can Jagielka bring to this Arsenal line-up?
The Englishman certainly has tons of Premier League experience under his belt.
He is 28 years old and has played regularly in the Premier League for over six years now. This kind of experience is something Arsenal could do with. He is also technically superior than Arsenal’s other two targets – Gary Cahill and Chris Samba. In my opinion, I believe he will fit into our team better than the other two defenders mentioned above and would be a perfect partner for Thomas Vermaelen.
Jagielka possesses decent pace and is also a threat at offending set-pieces. His tackling and marking is also very good and he is the kind of ball playing centre-back that Wenger has been craving for.
His other strength is that he is very versatile. I’ve seen him play at right-back for Everton once, where he looked very comfortable and assured.
Personally, I feel Phil has got enough skill and technique to play competently in the holding midfielder role too (I am not too sure if he has played here before), and can be used as a tactical ploy in important games like Pepe was for Real Madrid last season.
On the other hand, he isn’t the ‘tall player’ Wenger was talking about earlier in the summer.
Physically, The Everton defender is less imposing than that of Cahill or Samba, but is still better than Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny in the air. Still, he will not improve Arsenal’s set-piece defending as much as someone like Samba would. One more worry is his age. Jagielka isn’t too old at 27, but Samba is of the same age and is available for less (approximately £11 million). Cahill is three years younger at 24, and valued at £17 million – he is more of a long-term investment.
Most importantly, I believe Jagielka wouldn’t be a regular starter at the Emirates.
I rate him on par with Koscielny and Djourou, and his potential arrival will only bring more competition for places. This might make all three defenders work harder and improve their performances, but what Arsenal are in dire need of is a first choice partner for the Verminator. Someone like Samba would be a first-team regular at Arsenal because of his imposing presence and aerial ability – this isn’t the case with Jagielka though.
If available for around £14-15 million, Jagielka would be a fantastic signing for us, purely because of the experience and versatility he would bring to the squad, as well as providing healthy competition for places. However, any more money than the amount I stated, then Arsenal should look elsewhere – Cahill? Samba? Even Subotic?
One thing is for certain, £20 million for a centre-back is absolutely absurd.
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