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Arsenal transfer rumours: Italian football writer Matthew Santangelo on Gunners targets Joachim Andersen and Dennis Praet

PUBLISHED: 17:24 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:24 11 June 2019

Sampdoria's Dennis Praet (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the pre-season friendly match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

Sampdoria's Dennis Praet (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the pre-season friendly match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

According to reports, Arsenal are in talks to sign defender Joachim Andersen and midfielder Dennis Praet from Sampdoria. Islington Gazette sports reporter Dan Mountney spoke to Italian football writer Matthew Santangelo to get the low-down on the pair.

Denmark U21's Joachim Andersen (left) and England U21's Dominic Calvert-Lewin battle for the ball during the international friendly match at the Blue Water Arena, Esbjerg. Picture: Simon Cooper/PADenmark U21's Joachim Andersen (left) and England U21's Dominic Calvert-Lewin battle for the ball during the international friendly match at the Blue Water Arena, Esbjerg. Picture: Simon Cooper/PA

DM: What are the strengths and weaknesses of both players?

MS: "Joachim Andersen is a very solid ball playing central defender.

"Can play the ball out from the back effectively and also pass long to stretch the play.

"He's a balanced defender, although not exactly a quick central defender. Over distance, he can hold his own to cover however.

"Dennis Praet provides flexibility, either playing at the base of midfield, moving the ball quickly and circulating possession.

"He has the capability to play as a number eight, but doesn't possess the same offensive traits as Aaron Ramsey.

"Over time, it's possible this part of his game can develop."

DM: How important is their connection with former Sampdoria man Lucas Torreira?

MS: "I think it certainly doesn't hurt to have that familiarity, especially when adapting to a new league like the Premier League.

"In a way, by having a Torreira there, Andersen and Praet have an outlet to play confidently and understand his positioning.

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"It really will depend on how Emery intends to utilise and structure should the Sampdoria duo arrive."

DM: At around £50 million to £55 million, does the double deal represent good value for money?

MS: "Given the age of the two players, I'd say that's a pretty fair valuation.

"I'd argue more for Andersen for the simple fact he's younger, can play with the ball, pass and addresses a major need for Arsenal.

"Assuming he's rated at £30 million, it'll be hard to find that elsewhere on the market from a top five European league.

"As for Praet, if you lower his offensive expectations and understand that he isn't a carbon copy of Ramsey, I think there is good value there.

"But for me, the best piece of business here is Andersen. Central defenders like him are at a premium on the market right now."

DM: Will they improve the Arsenal team?

MS: "Yes, I believe both will improve Arsenal, for many of the reasons I've already mentioned.

"Andersen fits a dire need at the back and would be in position to become their best defender once settled.

"I rate Praet as a quality midfielder despite maybe not enjoying the same success this past season as the previous one, where he played in a midfield three with Torreira and Karol Linetty at Sampdoria under Marco Giampaolo.

"However, he's a versatile midfielder and isn't static with the ball, which I believe can help Arsenal's midfield."

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