News that Technical Director Edu is searching for a new centre-back isn’t entirely a surprise, but it does present questions over the futures of Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Callum Chambers, William Saliba, and Konstantinos Mavropanos.
I’ve not included Gabriel in that list because he is surely beyond reproach after numerous praise-worthy performances in an uncertain and changeable backline, but if I were Rob Holding and Callum Chambers, I’d be expecting to be told that their Arsenal careers are virtually over.
Holding is a decent lad doing the ordinary things that others tend to overlook, but he lacks pace and awareness and at the age of 26, he’s not likely to improve significantly, whereas Chambers just continues his stop-start career with the occasional decent showing but he’s unable to tie down that elusive CB, DM or RB role because there are generally better options available.
Chambers’ been at Arsenal since 2014 and in seven years, he’s never been in the reckoning and has lost his international place to a host of other players more gifted and driven. Come on, let’s be honest, his Arsenal career is going to come to a close fairly soon.
Only Mari has little to worry about as the definitive squad player and before his injury earlier last season, he looked reasonably solid and good value but Arteta is plotting for the future and time doesn’t appear to be on his side. The big question is where does William Saliba and forgotten man Konstantinos Mavropanos fit into the equation?
If I were Arteta they’d both be in contention for next season and I’d spend my money elsewhere. Mavropanos has acquitted himself well with Stuttgart and Saliba has shone for Nice, so it almost seemed inevitable that both would get their opportunity but with news that Arsenal are showing interest in Brighton’s Ben White, their futures appear to be in doubt.
🚨 Arsenal preparing move for Brighton defender Ben White. No club-to-club contact yet but expected in due course. Could take ~£40-50m — unlikely to be insurmountable for #AFC. Interest 1st reported by @johncrossmirror. W/ @gunnerblog @TheAthleticUK #BHAFC https://t.co/vYS2KG9rs5
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) June 11, 2021
What does this say about Arsenal’s recruitment and management? Well, it’s crystal clear to me that there is a lack of foresight and man-management skills to extract and support the talent they already have, how else can you see it?
Arteta obviously still has massive concerns about both even though they haven’t been given a chance to prove him right or wrong. The Spaniard needs to do more, why buy another very gifted CB just to ignore him or loan him out, where’s the sense?
Ben White is a talent, no doubt about that but so are Saliba and Mavropanos, with the latter still very highly regarded by former Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. If I didn’t know better, I’d say there was a conscious effort to rid the club of the purchases on his watch such as Guendouzi and Torreira, but let’s not start on the conspiracies just yet.
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Arsenal haven’t got massive amounts of cash but they’ve got two very gifted centre-backs on the books. However, they persist with flatfooted pairings who can’t work together and in the light of the loss of David Luiz, it’s important to consolidate and find a natural and credible duo.
If Arteta gets the defence wrong next season, it could cost him his job because although improvements were made, there were too many unforced errors which surely cost them 20 points over the season with the majority coming from defensive areas.
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