“The only negative today is that we lost another experienced defender with a dislocated shoulder. That gives us a problem because we are already short of experienced players at the back.”
“We were in the market anyway.
“Monreal and Debuchy can play centre back, but if Gibbs is not here Monreal cannot play centre back and if Debuchy is not here he cannot play centre back. This is a position where we are short.”
Looks like Arsenal fans may be getting their wish this month, then. Arsene Wenger’s words, quoted by Metro, after Sunday’s impressive 3-0 demolition of Stoke were music to some supporters’ ears, with cries from the stands at Emirates Stadium often having be born from frustration at the club’s centre-back situation.
There were fears that the Frenchman may continue to use full-backs as cover for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, but it appears that a new enforcer is on the agenda… and here are FIVE options…
A long-term target, Celtic’s Van Dijk is a possibility for the Gunners. The Dutchman has been impressive in Scotland of late, and Arsenal are rumoured to be considering a move for him, even though boss Ronny Deila has claimed that his player will be “very expensive” this month.
Adept on the ball, strong in the tackle and promising at the age of 23, Van Dijk is appears to fit Wenger’s specification, and speculation has suggested that offers of around £10m may be enough for him. To boot, the player himself may be more content than some options with a role as Koscielny and Mertesacker’s back-up in the short-term.
Bargain hunting is always a preference for managers of all levels, and Schar presents an option for the Gunners. The Swiss ace has been consistently linked with Arsenal since late 2014, following some impressive showings with Basel – both domestically and in European competition.
A promising and classy centre-back, a potential deal gets even sweeter when his falling value is thrown into the mix. Schar’s contract is due to expire in under six months’ time, and Basel could opt to sell in the coming weeks rather then risk losing their man for free at the end of the season.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFCbra) January 9, 2015
Reports from The Express have indicated that Arsenal’s centre-back search has extended all the way to La Liga, with Villarreal’s Gabriel Paulista a player Wenger admires. The 24-year-old has impressed in Spain since switching across the Atlantic Ocean from his homeland, where he had been earning rave reviews with Vitoria.
The 24-year-old has been a solid performer for the ‘Yellow Submarine’ in league and European action so far this term, and his side’s interest in Joel Campbell could also be used. The Costa Rican striker is wanted long-term by Wenger, yet a loan for the remainder of the season is an option.
A move that would be somewhat a shock one, Chris Smalling is a defender to have been linked with a switch from Man United to Arsenal. Wenger is rumoured to be a big fan of the England international, whose versatility has seen him used at right-back for club and country in the past.
Any swoop may well hinge on United’s own defensive situation, with Louis van Gaal, like Wenger, having struggled with injuries at the back. Smalling’s future at Old Trafford has been in doubt for some time, with uncertainties surrounding his temperament and suitability to top level football having been questioned after his Manchester derby red card.
Now this would be one way out of left field. Vidic has endured a disastrous spell in Italy with Inter Milan since making a free move from Manchester United, with Roberto Mancini widely believed to have already placed the Serbian on the transfer list.
The 33-year-old has since been linked with a return to United, but Arsenal could swoop to draft in the experienced enforcer, who offers much experience in English football – he has five Premier League titles to his name.