According to one report Arsenal need another central defender. But why?

by Tony Attwood

The Independent has today published a piece reviewing all the transfers made by different clubs (another web site to copy our idea), but they have gone a bit further – because they have a little note for each club headed “Still needed”.

In the case of Arsenal, “still needed” is a central defender and a back-up goalkeeper.   So I thought I would have a quick look at those two categories and see if this is the case.

First off, it is obvious that we have three keepers,

  • Petr Cech (GK)
  • Emi Martinez (GK)
  • David Ospina (GK)

each of whom is highly rated by the club and one who is seeking to stay in Italy (Wojciech Szczesny).   Yet the fact that Ospina has travelled to Oz and China suggests that his much rumoured transfer to Turkey has not gone through, and is not close to going through.   So we have three keepers.  The fourth keeper who becomes part of the squad will be drawn from the ranks of the under 21s as is the case each year.

So yes, if Szczesny does not return and Ospina leaves we need another keeper – but just saying that we need another keeper without that caveat is not really much help.

Now lets look at our defenders list and note the ones who we expect not to be here for the season…  In this context (L) means late back to training because of international whatnots.

  • Per Mertesacker
  • Gabriel (injured)
  • Laurent Koscielny (suspended for first two games)
  • 16 Rob Holding (L)
  • 18 Nacho Monreal
  • 20 Shkodran Mustafi (L)
  • 21 Calum Chambers (L)
  • 24 Hector Bellerin (L)
  • 31 Sead Kolasinac

So have but three players likely to be available: Mertesacker who played so brilliantly in the FA Cup Final, Monreal, and Kolasinac, and thus we are short.  Two short in fact.

But does that mean we have to go and buy?  And if we did, whoever we got would know that he would be coming into a team which, after the first couple of weeks would be packed with players: five turning up in a couple of weeks after belated holidays or suspension, and one coming back from injury.

In these circumstances who on earth is going to join the club knowing he might get two games and that was that?

I would suggest that in the case that no one of quality is likely to respond to our request.  But if that is so, what do we do?  One option is to play Holding.  As I understand it he didn’t play in the under 21 internationals the summer, and thus although he might need his break, he might need it a little less than the other players.

That gives us four defenders.   As for the fifth Oxlade-Chamberlain could be a wing back for the opening fixtures.

Now those who claim that this is exactly why we had a poor start to the campaign last season are quite right – we didn’t have the full team out.  But just moaning is no good.  We need to have an alternative.  So again we ask, what else can we do?

Of course we need back ups, which is why we have a squad of 25 players plus half a dozen or so youngsters, and indeed when we look a bit closer we have another such youngster going to Australia – the central defender Krystian Bielik.

Now the emotional argument against this is that we “risk” losing the opening match by using “kids” and “makeshift” players in the opening match.  And we “should have foreseen this” – as in I suppose, guessed that Germany would make the final of the Confederations Cup.

But we have nine defensive players in the squad of whom seven can play in the centre.  Do we really need to buy another central defender and paying a full salary through the year, and taking up one of the valuable “25” slots just for a game or two?

What is so frustrating is that in these little on line snippets the “experts” never tell us why the club needs this or that position covered.  It would be nice to know.

In case you missed the morning article because of our technical hiccup

Suddenly the media all focus on the same man for Arsenal’s next transfer.

7 Replies to “According to one report Arsenal need another central defender. But why?”

  1. Among the players in Australia are Krystian Bielik who is a perfectly competent Centre Back, when partnered with more experienced colleagues and Ainsley Maitland-Niles who, like the Ox, is quite capable of operating at Right Wing Back. We have taken three left backs, newbie Sead Kolasinac, speedster Cohen Bramall and Nacho Monreal. I suspect that for the tour at least Nacho will be the left side of our back three.

    I am sure that we can manage the first two games of the season with our current resources – always assuming our defenders on tour aren’t hit by an errant kangaroo or road train.

  2. There is a simple solution that all businesses have to do all the time. They need to stagger the breaks. Bring a couple of the late returners back now. Then when all the defenders are back and koscielny can play again, you give the others a proper vacation in October or november. It might seem weird mid season but as you mention, there are 9 defenders and they cant all play anyway

  3. Apologies for posting a link to the telegraph here, but how can the premier league let Liverpool off for persistent tapping up of players? Particularly this case where they falsified a signature to sign a 12 yr old? Understand City have been fined for a similar offence, so why not liverpool too? I wonder what would have happened had it been us.. So annoying that some clubs are allowed to get away with murder, on and off the pitch ?

  4. I think we shouldn’t condemn the Independent newspaper’s assumption of Arsenal need a top quality centreback signing this summer who will not be handicapped by any reason to start the Arsenal’s PL opening day match at the Ems against Leicester. Remember Le Prof said he’s still open to more signings this summer?

    Apart of the unavailability issues surrounding centre-backs: Mustafi, Koscielny, Gabriel, Chambers & Holding due to extended holidays, suspension and injury. The centreback Mertesacker who should be available to play against Leicester is aging and can no longer play on the regularly basis anymore as he used to.

    The Arsenal vs Leicester fixture at the Emirates on the opening day of the new season is a PL match and not a League Cup game against one of the lower opposition team in which Le Prof could afford to take a gamble in the game to play the Arsenal youngsters on the fringes in the match. The Premier League campaign is a very serious business. So, to suggest partnering Krystain Bielik with Mert’ in a back three at the heart of the Arsenal defence line against a Craig Shakespeare’s Leicester team who could be a full strength that day will be like an invitation for trouble to concede goals and suffered a defeat by Arsenal that day.

    Okay, agree, the back three that day could read: Holding Bfg Kolasinac with the Ox and Monreal as the wingbacks if the Ox is still at Arsenal that days media report is still suggesting he still wants out despite being on board of Arsenal summer preseason.

    On another related topic not unconnected with Arsenal summer signings. The delays I think been encountered by Arsenal to sign the Monaco’s midfielder Lemar asks for perception. I think that deal has not been agreed because Le Prof has ran short of money to conclude the deal in time as planned before taking off to Australia if am allowed to imaging things.

    As we are all a were, Le Prof summer transfers budget last season and this summer window was and is £100m each according to unconfirmed reports. Should that be the case, then, after expending about £56m including add ons to bring in the much herald Lacazette, I think the £44m that remained in Le Prof’s summer transfer kitty this summer can not undertake the signing of Lemar whose transfer fee is reportedly to be in the region of £46m plus. Therefore, Arsenal have to sell to enable them undertake the signing of Lemar. And that’s why Le Prof is bidding his time until Arsenal are able to sell Szczesny to Jeventus for a reported £13m before they’ll resubmit another bid to sign Lemar.

    Arsenal should occasionally be selling to recoup as they buy to enable them speed up the conclusion of their incoming transfer targets in a window. When Prof said in his press conference in Australia that he’s opened to do more signings this summer, I said to myself, where is the money going to come from? Except of course he sells.

  5. It would be too bad were Szczesny to leave us. I just loved the way he would wind up the Sp*rs fans.

  6. @ GoingGoingGooner -11/07/2017 at 11:04 pm – Even if he left us , why would he want to stop winding them up ? Especially as its still fun !

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