Should the Hammers make a move for this Arsenal centre back?


Johan Djourou. The name alone strikes fear into the hearts of fans. Unfortunately, most of them are Arsenal fans. I have many Arsenal supporters as friends, and they all, without exception cannot wait to see the back of Djourou as rumours link him away from North London. But with a host of clubs keen to seal his signature, including Napoli, and with Sam Allardyce reportedly keeping an eye on him, would he be a good signing for us?

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Firstly, I think that he is not as bad as it is often made out. Earlier in his career, he did have a habit of making stupid mistakes, but is this that surprising. Lets be totally honest about this one, James Tomkins hardly filled me with confidence in his first few months in the side, making a host of errors in the process. A successful loan spell at Birmingham City followed, but Johan then had the misfortune of picking up a knee injury just as an opportunity in the Arsenal side opened up. Djourou spent almost a season on the sidelines as a result of this, and followed this up with another serious injury after he had helped his side keep 8 clean sheets in a row in early 2011. To me, this simply looks like a typical career of a young defender, who has been unlucky with injuries.

Another reason that makes me believe Djourou might not be a bad signing is the organisation of the Arsenal defence does not help any of their defenders. Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen are both excellent defenders, but the Arsenal defence is often poorly organised, often resulting in mistakes. Under Allardyce, this would not be a problem. His defences are well drilled, and well marshalled, and his management would help Djourou improve as a player.
I question though, whether he is a realistic signing. According to some reports, teams are queuing up to seal his signature, and mention of a 10million euro transfer fee is being talked about. Therefore, we may be encouraged to look elsewhere; after all there are plenty of centre backs that we could be looking at. An equally ambitious target would be Chris Samba, who hasn’t had the best of times in Russia and the appeal of reteaming up with Allardyce could turn his head. Scott Dann should be another target. Despite having a very poor spell at Blackburn, he is an excellent defender, and again, in an organised, settled team, he would be in his element. Perhaps Ryan Nelsen should be a target after being released from Spurs?

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Strangely, rumours of defenders is thin on the ground right now, which is surprising considering we are short of quality there. Winston Reid came on leaps and bounds this season, but we can not assume he will step up. And past him, and of course Tomkins, we don’t have anyone established in that position. I’d imagine that there will be at least two centre backs arriving before August, although I can’t say with any degree with confidence who they will be.

Djourou would be an interesting signing, but the bottom line is I don’t think its going to happen. The transfer fee seems too high, and he may be tempted to move abroad to try to kickstart a career which really hasn’t got going yet. Definitely food for thought though.

Let me know your opinion on who should be our defensive targets. Follow me at @tom29whu and keep an eye on this blog for transfer news as it happens.

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