Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has said that Arsenal need a defensive midfielder and a “powerhouse” central defender to become “strong challengers”.
The north London side have started the season well so far, and face Liverpool in their next game on Saturday.
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Talking about Arsenal’s top four credentials, 46-year-old Phillips said on Tuesday’s edition of The Debate (via The Daily Express):
“I’m talking about finishing in a Champions League spot where they haven’t been for quite a while now.
“I think so [top four would be a success] yeah, progression. If they can get to January they might add again. If what we’re hearing’s true there’s going to be money available.
“Go and get that defensive midfielder, go and get another powerhouse centre-half, really make yourself strong challengers.”
An addition to the heart of the defence should be a priority. David Luiz may have come in, but it remains to be seen whether he can produce. He is certainly not a powerhouse, and is susceptible to mistakes.
Sokratis has played both games so far this campaign, but both the Greek international and Luiz are in their 30s and do not have that long ahead of them. Shkodran Mustafi could be on the move, whilst Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos have yet to guarantee themselves a starting spot. Either way, none of those three mentioned are “powerhouses” in the conventional sense, so a true defensive commander would not go amiss.
In regards to a defensive midfielder, that appears to be less of an issue. Matteo Guendouzi has started the season fantastically, whilst they also have Lucas Torreira, who is capable of putting in good performances. They are both young as well, which means they will not need replacing any time soon.
As such, whilst a defender should be on Unai Emery’s shopping list, another defensive midfielder can probably wait until next season.