According to recent newspaper reports Arsenal could make a renewed bid for Everton centre-half Phil Jagielka as the club try to rebuild after the departure of Cesc Fabregas and the seemingly imminent transfer of Samir Nasri to Man City. Although Wenger’s priority is to replace his two midfield men, he also realises that their regularly shambolic defence still needs strengthening and he has selected the Englishman as the perfect candidate for the job.
The club have already had a bid of £10 million pounds rejected and Everton appear to have put a £20m price tag on the centre-back as they are reluctance to sell their best defender. The 29-year-old has firmly established himself in the Premier League and has made eight appearances for England. He is well known for his consistent performances and leadership at the back, something Arsenal desperately need.
Looking at his attributes it is hard to see why he is not already at a bigger club than Everton but this is probably due to his unwavering commitment to the club that gave him his big chance and also recent injuries that have affected any potential transfers. The solid defender, who always gives 100% commitment to the cause, would fit in with the Arsenal style of play as he is a player who spent time playing a ball winning midfielder at his former club Sheffield United.
However other defensive targets that have been rumoured to be on Wenger’s shortlist include Blackburn’s Chris Samba and Bolton’s Gary Cahill and I think that Samba would give the team a bigger physical present at the back and will be available for much cheaper price while Cahill would also be a valuable acquisition at a much younger age than Jageilka. The recent problems in defence have mainly been due to struggling at set pieces and I am not sure that the former Sheffield United player would solve these problems as he is just not dominating enough in the air.
I think that although £20 million does seem like a high price to pay for a player nearly in his thirties but it seem it is the price to pay for English players these days and it is not helped by Everton knowing that Arsenal have money to spend so are holding out for as much as they can get, something the Goodison Park are renowned for with their much in-demand players.
Arsenal need a defender that can guide the young defence, control the back line while also bringing nature leadership qualities to the team. I think that Jagielka would provide some of these attributes but with his price tag and age I can understand some Arsenal fans concerns over Wenger’s reported interest.
But I think that he would make for a good signing as he is an intelligent footballer and while not necessarily bringing the physical strength at the back, he is a reliable defender who can also play a bit. Sounds like an Arsenal player in the making to me.
Wenger has had long enough to find a suitable centre back after the problems the current defence has experienced and if he has indeed decided that Jagielka is the man to solidify the current defence then he needs to get his signature before the end of August. In Wenger we trust, at least until it turns out to be another trophy-less season at the Emirates.