Not a day goes by without increased speculation on many proposed Arsenal transfer targets. Now that the dust has appeared to settle on the Thomas Partey story, the press has turned their attention to Arsenal’s distinctly creaky central defence. Supporters are salivating about the arrival of the highly-rated William Saliba but that begs the question, who will be his long term partner.
David Luiz is coming to the end of his career and although he has leadership experience, the legs aren’t what they were in his Chelsea heyday. Mustafi, although improved under Arteta, is inconsistent and unreliable. Surely, the German World Cup winner would be no more than an injury stop-gap in defence, similar to the role held by Pascal Cygan. Let’s quickly remind ourselves of the chant we used, rather unkindly, to herald a rare appearance:
“He’s bald, he’s shit, he plays when no one’s fit – Pascal Cygan”
Oh those were the real days of defensive crisis management and extremely limited options.
Anyway, let’s move on. Chambers has never really seized his opportunity and must surely be in his final season in North London unless he has a barnstorming campaign and the same could be said, somewhat unfairly of Rob Holding after a lengthy injury.
I’ve been a Holding fan in the past but I, like many, am frustrated by his lack of progress. He’s steady but not outstanding and puts in a shift without being remarkable. Yet, there’s still a part of me that argues optimistically, that Holding could form a solid partnership with a quality player like Saliba.
Would we finally see the Player that we thought Wenger had acquired in 2016? I’m not convinced and feel bad about having a pop at a player who has overcome a nasty injury, but let’s put it out there anyway.
Sokratis has to go this summer because although he has been admirable, he lacks pace and finesse. He is the equivalent of someone employing a coat hanger to play the violin. He also has the potential to be a regular recipient of the referee’s red card, now that VAR is in place.
That’s the list of what Arsenal currently have at their disposal but now, it appears that the press thinks they have found new answers to Arsenal’s age-old dilemma in the form of Boubacar Kamara (23) – Marseille, Unai Nunez (23) – Athletic Bilbao and Reims centre-back Axel Disasi (22).
All three are superb talents with oodles of potential, but there is the small problem of fees. Kamara would cost at least £24.3m, Nunez is at a slightly better value at £14.4m with Disasi a whisker cheaper at £13m. Any of the trio would make a decent partner for Saliba and are certainly an upgrade on what Arsenal already have in terms of ability and agility but are the Gunners going to put hard cash on the table to find an ideal partner for Saliba?
I’d like to think so but realistically, it’s unlikely because I feel that the priority will now shift to midfield with Ceballos departing for Spain and Ozil in the final year of his contract.
Fresh rumours indicate that Kamara might be available at a knockdown price because of the dire financial problems facing Marseille after the pandemic. Realistically, Arsenal could shave £8m plus off the existing price possibly bumping it up on a series of flexible add-ons.
That’s encouraging news but it’s more likely that Arsenal will snap up loanee Pablo Marí and retain Luiz and either Chambers or Holding. Arsenal will look at the cheaper options of frees, swaps, and loans before they commit Stan’s cash, but it is just another case of the false economy for a problem that has persisted for over 10 seasons. It appears that this incarnation of the Arsenal board is as effective as its predecessor.