Regardless of Calum Chambers’ recent £16million arrival, Arsenal desperately need to add a centre-back to their squad before deadline day.
Former captain Thomas Vermaelen left for Barcelona earlier this month, and although he hasn’t been integral to the first team over the last few seasons, the Belgium international leaves a major hole in the Gunners’ squad depth.
The summer transfer window may have entered it’s final stages but there are still some options out there for Arsene Wenger to consider.
And being the lovely bunch we are at Football Fancast, we’ve listed SIX centre-halves the north Londoners could realistically sign between now and September 1st.
It’s becoming less and less likely that Winston Reid will extend his contract at West Ham, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season, and speculation this morning suggests Arsenal are already planning to take advantage:
— Barclays League (@BarclaysLeague) August 24, 2014
The 26 year-old may be no world-beater but he’s been incredibly consistent since the East Londoners returned to the Premier League in summer 2012, claiming the Hammer of the Year award the twelve months later. He was in prominent form at the start of last term too, leading him to be linked with an Emirates switch ahead of the January 2014 transfer window. Here’s a look at his stats from the campaign:
A move failed to materialise due to the New Zealand skipper being sidelined with an ankle injury, and by no great coincidence, West Ham’s league form tanked in his absence. The 6 foot 3 centre-back is more rugged than your average Arsenal defender but he’s a reliable performer, proven at Premier League level, who would fit into the hierarchy of the Emirates squad well. Here’s a look at the All Whites captain in action:
Toby Alderweireld was strongly linked with an Arsenal move last summer, having clearly outgrown his surroundings at Ajax after winning three consecutive Eredivisie titles. The Belgium international went on to join Atletico Madrid instead, but their sensational rise to the La Liga title and the 2014 Champions League final saw him make just ten league starts last season. But Alderweireld is certainly a talented defender – he produced solid displays when called upon by the Mattress Makers last season and also impressed for his country at the World Cup, as viewable below:
A product of Ajax’s total football academy, Alderweireld comes with an impressive all-round game. He’s technically sound and versatile too, regularly featuring at right-back for Belgium and in midfield during his Amsterdam Arena days. Here’s a look at him in action:
The 6 foot 2 centre-back-come-full-back has already made known his intentions to leave Vincente Calderon via his father, and it’s believed the Spanish champions have set an asking price of £10million. Arsenal have unsurprisingly been linked again but West Ham and Spurs have also emerged as potential suitors:
Another La Liga option for the Gunners to consider is Sevilla star Federico Fazio, who has been linked with a wealth of Premier League sides over the last 12 months in no small part due to an incredibly enticing £8million release clause.
Despite not making Albiceleste’s World Cup squad, the Argentina international was a vital factor in Los Palanganos claiming the Europa League title last season, as viewable below:
The 27 year-old measures in at whopping 6 foot 5 but also offers quality in possession, with defensive midfield considered to be his secondary position. Thus, many have labelled him as a potential like-for-like understudy to Per Mertesacker.
Oh, and don’t mess with him, or he’ll punch you in the stomach:
But if the Gunners want to land Fazio’s signature they’ll have to act quickly; rumours over the last week suggest he’s on the verge of joining North London rivals Tottenham:
With Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny undoubtedly Arsene Wenger’s first choice at the heart of defence, it would make sense for the Gunners gaffer to invest in a young centre-half who won’t immediately command a plethora of game-time.
Enter FC Basel prodigy Fabian Schar, who is quickly emerging as one of Europe’s most sought after youngsters. Statistically, the Switzerland international was the best defender in the Champions League last season, as detailed below:
And his World Cup performances weren’t too bad either, making eight interceptions during two outings at Brazil 2014.
The 22 year-old comes with an interesting knack for scoring goals. He takes penalties for Bebbi and once netted this astounding strike during his FC Wil days:
Schar epitomises the growing trend of front-footed centre-backs, complimenting his all-action defensive style with quality and composure on the ball. He’s even played in midfield on occasion for Basel, which should make him perfect for Arsenal’s progressive style.
He’s been linked with Arsenal already this summer but recent speculation suggests Tottenham are significantly closer to landing his signature:
— Addicted to Spurs (@AddictedtoSpurs) August 23, 2014
One prime transfer opportunity that’s come Arsenal’s way in the last month is German World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes, who recently revealed his desire to play in a different league:
Despite being labelled his country’s weak link, the Schalke captain produced impressive form at Brazil 2014, as detailed below:
Here’s some of his highlights from the World Cup campaign:
The 6 foot 2 defender isn’t the fastest but proved his ability to play at full-back to a high level during the tournament and that versatility would seriously strengthen Arsene Wenger’s options in defence.
The 26 year-old is known to be on Arsenal’s radar, but he’s got three years left on his Veltins Arena contract and after loaning out Kyriakos Papadopoulos to Bayer Leverkusen, it could take a sizeable offer to convince the Miners to sell.
Arsenal are closing in on £6.5m Olympiacos defender Kostas Manolas http://t.co/JYVojcmGqp
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) August 19, 2014
In fact, they’ve been further amplified by the defender’s absence during Olympiakos’ season opener against Niki Volou on Saturday.
Arsenal’s alleged interest stems from an impressive World Cup campaign where the 23 year-old featured in every minute for his country and produced strong form throughout, as detailed below:
He was equally eye-catching in last term’s Champions League tournament, where he netted twice in seven appearances:
Manolas is strong, quick and composed on the ball, making him an ideal fit for Arsenal’s possession-based style. Here’s a look at the 6 foot 1 defender’s highlights from Brazil 2014:
Allegedly available for just £6.5million, Manolas could prove to be a major coup. But there are reports that he’ll turn down at Gunners move due to a lack of assurances over first team football.