An important summer transfer window is on the horizon for Arsenal fans, where their side looks to rebuild under new manager Mikel Arteta to reclaim their place in the Champions League.
All eyes will be on Arsenal’s defensive reinforcements, for good reason. With William Saliba (finally) joining ahead of the 2020/21 season, the Gunners could be just one centre-back away from starting to find their feet defensively.
Every name under the sun will be linked with a move to north London, but after a positive knee-jerk reaction to recent links with Bayer Leverkusen star Jonathan Tah, Arsenal could be about to take one step forward only to take two back.
There’s little doubt that the 24-year-old would offer an immediate improvement on Arsenal’s current options in defence, although that says less about Tah and a lot more about the likes of Shkodran Mustafi or David Luiz.
And with an apparent £34m release clause, Tah would be available at an absolute snip in the current transfer market, even though his stock across Europe has dropped over the last few seasons.
But while the Bayer Leverkusen defender would improve Arsenal’s defence – he’d also be able to link up with Bernd Leno once again – it’s nowhere near enough to bridge the gap with any of the sides currently ahead of them in the table.
Even looking at Arsenal’s other targets, Tah would offer less of an upgrade to Arteta’s first-team than Dayot Upamecano or Gabriel Magalhães, two players who would also bring more longevity.
On top of that, the Gunners will be back to having major questions about the makeup of their first team this time next year.
It’s actually at the other end of the pitch where concerns will start to be for fans in north London, with the futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Özil all still up in the air.
So even if Tah is able to come into the side for a quick fix and help Arsenal back into the Champions League for one season, they’ll be back on Thursday nights instantly with a new attacking lineup which will need time to bed into their new surroundings.
And when Arsenal are ready to mount a consistent challenge for the top four in five or six years, Tah’s time as the club’s marquee centre-back will be first to be called into question, while Saliba, Kieran Tierney and even Héctor Bellerín will still be at their best.
The Germany international offers an improvement for Arsenal next season, but after two disappointing years in the Bundesliga, it would be an uninspiring signing from the club with yet another oversight on the bigger picture at the Emirates.
For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!