Wenger Lining Up Move For Nice Defender Ricardo Pereira

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is lining up a £20 million move for Nice defender Ricardo Pereira, according to the Daily Star.

The Gunners are hoping to secure the full-back in the January transfer window as they seek cover for Hector Bellerin.

While Bellerin is easily first choice at the Emirates, there is a lack of cover with Mathieu Debuchy currently injured and Carl Jenkinson out of favour.

Both players appear to have little future at the club , Debuchy has spoken openly of his desire to quit Arsenal and appears to have fallen out completely with manager Wenger while Jenkinson is expected to depart this winter.

With the duo surely on their way out of the Emirates, Arsenal are left short defensively particularly at right-back. Gabriel was forced to cover Bellerin recently after he picked up an ankle problem in the north London derby against Tottenham but is not a natural full-back.

Although Bellerin has returned to action he has also struggled again with injury recently. He was a doubt for the Bournemouth game before being ruled out of the FA Cup tie against Preston through injury.

With Bellerin’s fitness far from certain it would make perfect sense for the Gunners to invest in a right-back and reinforce the squad, particularly with the club still fighting on three fronts.

Ricardo would certainly be an attractive option, he is a versatile defender who can play on either flank or in midfield and is just 23.

Arsenal scouts have reportedly been impressed by the Portuguese and he would certainly make a quality back-up for Bellerin and possibly even push him for a starting position.

One fact that may cause a problem with Ricardo would be the price, £20m is a lot to spend on a player who is being brought in primarily just as cover.

However, there is no doubt that Arsenal are lacking in numbers defensively, and should Jenkinson and Debuchy depart they could really struggle should injury strike Bellerin again.

Certainly a move for Ricardo would make sense, the defender has been a virtual ever present for Nice this season, helping the club to the top of Ligue 1 ahead of reigning champions PSG and a promising Monaco side.

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