The media is awash with the news that long-time Arsenal stalwart Bacary Sagna will bid the Emirates adieu in the coming days by signing up for Premier League champions Manchester City.
With his departure all but set in stone, Toulouse right-back and boyhood Gooner Serge Aurier has emerged as the leading contender to be the Frenchman’s successor after a blockbuster Ligue 1 campaign.
Aurier’s showings have earned him the honour of representing the Ivory Coast at the 2014 World Cup and he should be in line to start as the Elephants bid to land 31/20 odds about victory over Japan in their first outing of the tournament.
Yet, sadly, the path to Arsenal acquisitions seldom runs smooth, so news.bwin.com/en/ have dug out three undiscussed alternatives should his signing go awry.
Danilo, 22, Porto, £10m
His fellow fullback Alex Sandro may have claimed the majority of the plaudits in an otherwise unremarkable Dragons Champions League vintage, but Danilo was every bit as effective.
Rock solid defensively, he still found time to create an average of 1.7 scoring opportunities per game in Europe’s premier club competition, while taking a paternal responsibility for the ball to the tune of a mean 58.8 touches an outing.
Scouting delegations from Real Madrid and Barcelona have been to run the rule over the Brazilian in the past.
Joel Ward, 24, Crystal Palace, £1.75m
No player made more tackles in the Premier League this season than Ward, whose 67 per cent success rate in said interventions dwarves that of the remaining members of Squawka.com’s Premier League top ten defensive duellists.
Cheap at the price, the importance of Ward’s Englishness cannot be underestimated in the era of the home-grown player rule.
Martin Montoya, 23, Barcelona, £10.5m
There’s no shame in failing to dislodge one of the finest right-backs in the game at the Camp Nou and there have been regular rumour-mill rumblings suggesting Montoya is tiring of the situation.
When the Spanish international has played, he hasn’t disappointed with an assured 3.2 tackles per game average that almost doubles Sagna’s 2013/14 contribution on the same metric.