In the last 16 of the Europa League, at the expensive of their Premier League campaign, Everton could find their path to progression blocked by a defender familiar to some Arsenal fans.
Aleksandar Dragovic may be the best player currently on Dynamo Kiev’s books and looks a stopper capable of playing at a higher level than the Ukrainian Premier League.
That’s no mean feat when you consider some of the talents at manager Sergei Rebrov’s disposal with Jeremain Lens, Miguel Veloso and Younes Belhanda all previously linked with a switch to the English top-flight.
But while each has flattered to deceive, Dragovic looks the real deal and Arsenal appear aware of that.
The Gunners are reportedly considering a bid of anywhere up to £15m for the 24-year-old centre back and could send scouts to watch him in action against the Toffees.
Born in Austria to ethnic Serbian parents, Dragovic came through the ranks at Austria Vienna, winning the Austrian Cup in his debut season in the first-team.
In early February 2011, Basel came calling, with the stopper switching to the Swiss giants.
Here, Dragovic earned a reputation as a tough-tackling, defensive leader, helping the club to three consecutive Swiss Super League titles and the Uhrencup before moving to Dynamo in the summer of 2013.
Something of a hard man on the pitch, he remains prone to the occasional act of stupidity.
In Switzerland, Dragovic garnered criticism after slapping politician Ueli Maurer on the head during Basel’s Uhrencup celebrations in May 2012, later apologising for over-stepping the mark.
He also saw red for Dynamo in the Europa League this season, dismissed for a bad foul on midfielder Kasper Risgard in a group stage fixture with Swedish side Aab.
Despite this, the young defender has also managed to impress in the competition, playing a key role in the Ukraine club’s fine 2-0 victory over Steaua Bucharest in Romania.
He’s beginning to make an impact on the international stage, where he has been able to showcase another side to his game.
Capped 35 times by his adopted homeland of Austria, Dragovic even got on the scoresheet for the national team, netting in a 2-1 friendly defeat to Brazil.
Due to start against Everton at Goodison Park on Thursday, the 24-year-old will need to be at his best to keep the likes of Romelu Lukaku at bay.
But come away from Merseyside with a result and Arsenal’s interest could become something far more concrete in the weeks that follow.
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