By 90Min
June 04, 2019

After missing out on Champions League qualification after finishing fifth in the Premier League, as well as being humiliated 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League Final, it's clear Arsenal need to make some signings.

But missing out on a spot in Europe's elite competition means Unai Emery is unlikely to have the transfer budget at his disposal to make a raft of top drawer signings - meaning he'll need to engage a metaphorical 'Plan B'.

As such, Basel defender Eder Balanta has emerged as a potential target for the Gunners - but who is he? Here's six things to know about the man who made 31 appearances for the Swiss outfit last season...


He's Been Compared to Argentina Legend Daniel Passarella

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Before making his move to Switzerland in 2016, Balanta worked his way up through the youth setup of Argentinian giants River Plate.

During his time at the club, the centre back was compared to Argentina hero Daniel Passarella by former River coach Ramon Diaz, who clearly viewed Balanta in high regard.

Passarella captained his country to glory during the 1978 World Cup and earned the reputation as a prolific goal-scoring defender, finding the net a record 11 times for Fiorentina in 1986.


He Has Caught The Eye of Top European Sides Before

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Having only made a handful of appearances for River Plate's first team, Inter reportedly made a bid for Balanta but were unsuccessful as his former club wanted a €12m fee.

He then reportedly grabbed the attention of Barcelona, who viewed the Colombian as a possible replacement for the ageing Carles Puyol in 2013.

But it seems any potential dream move was hindered early on in his career by the potential cost, with an outrageous €30m release clause having been set.


He Has Helped Basel to Numerous Trophy Successes

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Despite the recent rejuvenation of rivals Young Boys in recent years, Basel are certainly considered one of the elite forces in Swiss football.

You could argue that the club were vastly successful even before Balanta was signed, but he seems to have had an impact nonetheless.

His debut season in 2016/17 saw FCB secure their eighth successive league title. Again, this might shows success was already a common aspect at the club, but the added victory in the Swiss Cup meant they claimed the double for just the sixth time in their history.


He Is a Colombia International

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Through no fault of his own, Balanta had a slow start to his international career - having been denied the opportunity to participate in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup by River Plate, who were concerned about a recent injury he'd suffered.

Despite this disappointment, he was called up to the senior squad for friendlies against Belgium and the Netherlands later that same year, but didn't make an appearance in either of those matches.

His debut came in a friendly against Tunisia, before he was named as part of Colombia's squad for the 2014 World Cup, in which they were narrowly eliminated by Brazil at the quarter-final stage.


He Has All the Attributes You'd Want in a Centre Back

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Balanta was highly regarded during his time in Argentina, being labelled as the 'best defender' in the league.

Along with his speed and agility, he possesses strength and balance, achieving a man of the match performance during the 2013 Copa Sudamericana for which he had been called "impassable."

Some will say that he's failed to reach his potential, but at 26, he still has time on his side to achieve bigger and better things.


He Could Cost Arsenal Virtually Nothing

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Given Shkodran Mustafi's continued poor form, Rob Holding's long-term injury worries and Laurent Koscielny's age, centre back looks like a position that the Gunners need to prioritise improving.

Multiple reports suggest they are considering a move for Balanta, with a meagre fee in the region of just £4m being mentioned.

He might not be the start signing that Arsenal fans were hoping for, but he could certainly add a wealth of talent to their squad.

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