If Arsenal were light of centre-back options last season, the need to sign another player this summer has only increased following Thomas Vermaelen’s move to Barcelona.
Arsene Wenger does have Calum Chambers in the squad, who he has used in the centre of defence in pre-season, but it would be reckless to rely on him as the only backup to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Furthermore, the Arsenal boss commented that the club would be in the market if Vermaelen moved on. With more than enough in the way of financial muscle, the club shouldn’t have a problem bringing in another centre-back of sufficient quality.
So, with that in mind, here’s a look at five options around England and Europe for the club.
Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes is one of a small handful of players said to be on Arsenal’s shortlist. The German international, though a natural centre-back, featured regularly for his country at left-back during the World Cup.
And Howedes is equally capable at right-back, which would prove beneficial to Arsenal if Wenger plans on converting Calum Chambers into a central defender or midfielder.
Howedes would bring with him plenty of experience and would replace the leadership now lost following Vermaelen’s sale.
Matija Nastasic emerged as a surprise target for Arsenal earlier in the summer, and it might be possible now to land the Serb after Manchester City’s signing of Eliaquim Mangala.
Nastasic impressed during his first season in the Premier League but struggled with injuries last year. Now with Mangala on board, he may find regular first-team football hard to come by.
That also may be the case at Arsenal, but the team do need to bring in younger options at centre-back, and the 21-year-old would represent a very good investment, having grown accustomed to the Premier League.
Kostas Manolas is the most recent name linked with a move to Arsenal, and considering his youth, being 23, he’d be considered a good signing for Arsenal.
The Greek international performed extremely well at the World Cup and has garnered interest from Italian clubs this summer. Currently on the books of Olympiakos, Arsenal may be able to wrap up a deal for the defender quickly, having loaned the Greek side Joel Campbell last season.
Unlikely to dent the transfer budget too much, Manolas would represent a very good third-choice option for the coming season.
Daniel Agger is a strange link to Arsenal. Yes, Liverpool are said to want to move the Dane on, but he represents similar worries to Thomas Vermaelen, who Arsenal just sold to Barcelona.
Agger has struggled with injuries for a number of years and wasn’t Brendan Rodgers’ first-choice last season. Heading to Arsenal may not be the best move for the 29-year-old.
On the upside, if this deal gets done, Arsenal will bring in an experienced Premier League defender, allowing for Calum Chambers time to grow into role as central defender over the coming seasons.
Sporting may be pushing to get as much as they can from a potential sale of William Carvalho, but Arsenal could be looking to the Portuguese international to fill in as an emergency option at centre-back.
Carvalho has carved out a reputation as one of the best young midfielders in Europe, and Arsenal would benefit for many years to come with the 22-year-old on board. But Arsene Wenger may be about to look to Carvalho as the perfect signing to cover multiple positions in the team. With both a centre-back and defensive midfielder needed, bringing in the Sporting midfielder would make a lot of sense.