Arsenal in pole position to land French international defender
Montpellier captain set to follow Giroud to north London
Arsene Wenger is set for a second raid on Montpellier following his summer capture of Olivier Giroud, with central defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa now in his sights.
Arsenal’s strong start to the season has seen them cut to 12/1 to win the Premier League title and, with Yanga-Mbiwa’s contract set to expire, the Montpellier captain could be one of the most sought-after players in the next close-season.
The 23-year-old will be free to sign a pre-contract with a club outside of France in January and that could prompt Wenger to make a move with AC Milan also reported to be sniffing around.
Alike Giroud, Yanga-Mbiwa was at the heart of Montpellier achieving their maiden Ligue 1 crown; his performances warranting him a call-up to Laurent Blanc’s provisional Euro 2012 squad.
Ultimately, he was cut from the final party but, under Didier Deschamps, he has since won his first international caps and could be set for a big future with Les Bleus.
Unless injuries occur, it seems unlikely that Wenger will move for the defender in January with Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker marshalling a defence that has kept three clean sheets in four games so far this season.
But Yanga-Mbiwa has the chance to show Wenger how he compares to these two in the forthcoming Group B clashes between the sides, where he will bid to keep his old sparring partner Giroud at bay.
Since making his debut in the 2006/07 campaign, the French international has gone on to make 168 appearances for Montpellier and was at the heart of a defence that kept 14 shut-outs on the way to Montpellier lifting l’Championnat.
Being French and not costing a penny, he already ticks crucial boxes for Wenger and, having proved his quality in his side’s most successful season, Yanga-Mbiwa could soon be following Giroud from southern France to north London.
All odds and markets correct as of publication