Much of the recent criticism levelled at Arsenal has been aimed at the lack of depth and stability in the defensive areas of the squad.
It will come as no surprise, then, that Unai Emery may look to bring in a centre back during the summer transfer window.
Emery took in some Spanish football at the weekend, visiting the Mestalla for Valencia’s goalless draw with high flying Getafe. One player who played in that game was Togolese centre back Djene Dakonam. It is believed that the defender was being watched by the Arsenal boss as his side kept their ninth clean sheet of the season and stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches.
Could Djene become the solution to Arsenal’s defensive problems? Here are six things to know about the highly rated defender.
Who is Djene Dakonam?
Djene Dakonam started his career at Étoile Filante in his native country of Togo and also had spells at clubs in Benin and Cameroon before making his way to European football in 2014.
Djene made the move to Segunda División side AD Alcorcon where he grew to be a prominent figure in the team. After two years in the Spanish second tier he earned a move to Belgian top flight side Sint-Truidense. In July 2017, it was a return to Spain for the defender, this time signing for La Liga side Getafe.
Two years later and Djene has accumulated over 60 appearances for Getafe and has made quite the impression in La Liga. The Azulones finished eighth last season on their return to the Spanish top flight and currently occupy the final Champions League spot in fourth this season.
He Has Been Focal Point of Getafe's Hugely Successful 2018/19 Season
Djene has continued his excellent form this campaign after his debut season in La Liga last term.
He has played in all but two league matches this season, both due to suspensions. Despite a somewhat poor disciplinary record of nine yellow cards this season, Djene has been at the heart of a thriving Getafe side who are surprising La Liga viewers this season.
Arsenal fans should be aware that Djene's performances have helped Getafe go unbeaten in seven league matches with the third best defensive record in La Liga, conceding fewer goals than Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona this season.
Captaincy Experience for Club and Country
As well as consistent exceptional performances, Djene has been appointed captain on three occasions in the absence of club skipper Jorge Molina.
Djene claimed the captain's armband for the first time when Barcelona visited Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in January this year. Despite a 2-1 defeat to the reigning champions, Djene has regained captaincy on a further two occasions against Eibar and Huesca with his side earning a draw and a win respectively.
He has also become the captain of his national team Togo in recent games. During his last two appearances for the Sparrowhawks, Djene captained the team to pick up four points against Gambia in their Africa Cup of Nations 2019 qualifiers.
Gained 34 Caps for the Togo National Team
Djene has also racked up plenty of experience at international level. He has been a consistent member of the Togo national team since gaining his first cap against Gabon in 2012. The defender now has 34 caps for his country and has captained the team on four occasions.
Togo are currently in contention to qualify for the African Cup of Nations 2019. Djene will be part of the squad that needs to beat Benin on March 22 to make sure they qualify for this summer's competition. Former Arsenal player and Togo legend Emmanuel Adebayor has also been called up to the squad.
Djene Has a €35m Release Clause
It is no surprise to see the 27-year-old linked with a move away from Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Pérez after his impressive performances during his two year spell at the club. However, any club snooping around will need to be aware of his €35m release clause.
Djene was signed for a fee of only €2.5m from Sint-Truidense but Getafe club president Angel Torres told Cadena Cope (via Football London) that they are willing to sell him for less than the his release clause.
With Arsenal barely spending money in the past two transfer windows, the price may put off the Gunners, but with the side's new agreement with adidas, funds could become available for Djene's transfer.
He's Has Been Linked to Both Barcelona and Real Madrid
Djene’s performances in La Liga have not gone unnoticed by the bigger teams in the league. Getafe could well be playing Champions League football next season should they continue their current push up the table, though Djene could be attracted to a move away to a bigger club should they come calling.
Arsenal could have to battle with the big guns in Spain if they were to be successful in signing Djene. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have shown interest in gaining the defender's signature.
As reported by Football Espana last year, Djene said: "I’m hopeful my work can take me to a bigger club." A year later, the performances Djene has produced may help him earn a major move to one of Europe's biggest team.