The 23-year-old defender will face tough competition for places at the Emirates however, with Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny already in a battle to appear in Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up.
In his favour, is his versatility, he can play across the back-four. The Gunners could have done with a dependable figure like him when their injury crisis struck last season.
Yanga-Mbiwa would be the second Montpellier player to join Arsenal’s ranks after the summer capture of striker Olivier Giroud, and could help them in their bid for the Premier League title. Widely regarded as outsiders for the title, Arsenal’s odds were slashed after their 6-1 destruction of Southampton last weekend, and the club could secure Yanga-Mbiwa’s signing on a pre-contract in January.
Relatively fresh, he made his international debut this year and, though eventually cut from the final squad, was called up to Laurent Blanc’s provisional Euro 2012 squad.
The French international has made 169 appearances for Montpellier, and was a defining part of last season’s Ligue 1 champion status. Last season, he was also part of a Montpellier side that kept 14 league clean sheets.
Arsenal previously declared interest in Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa last month, with their advances shunned in favour of a transfer to AC Milan. However, a move to the Italian capital failed to materialise after chairman Louis Nicollin blocked Milan’s £4.75m offer. Though Yanga-Mbiwa respected Nicollin’s decision, he snubbed Arsenal’s advances after reporting that his heart was set on a move to Italy.
With strong relations with the French club following the capture of Giroud, Arsene Wenger will be confident he can land the defender at the second time of asking, and come January the door may well be open again for Wenger to bring the player to North London.
Montpellier would surely rather cash in than risk losing their captain on a free transfer next summer, and if they are unable to persuade him to sign an extension, Arsenal will remain high on his list of potential destinations.
image: © yvelines