Following the eventual arrival of William Saliba to the Emirates, combined with Pablo Mari signing permanently, Arsenal seem to have added a fair amount of defensive depth to their squad. However, the never-ceasing speculations on new defenders additions continue. If reports from France Bleu (via Football London) are to be believed, Arsenal are looking to secure the signature of 22-year-old Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes.
Gabriel Magalhaes is a highly-rated centre-back who is being targeted by several European clubs this summer. Napoli and Arsenal have shown serious interest in signing the Brazilian, while several other clubs such as Chelsea, Everton, and Manchester City are also keen to sign the Lille defender.
If Arsenal do sign Magalhaes from Lille, they will end up with a total of eight centre-backs in their squad. It is visibly clear that one or two will have to leave the club. The problem is, which are the ones most likely to be shown the door?
We’ll start with Calum Chambers. Chambers has been a solid player for Arsenal and was actually the shining light at the heart of defence during Emery’s last six months. However, his performances during the 2019/20 season seem to be forgotten. He was a first-team regular and performed really well, whether be at right-back, right wing-back or centre-back, up until he suffered a serious knee injury in Arteta’s first game against Chelsea.
One reason why Chambers could be shown the exit door is that he is pretty valuable an asset for Arsenal. He is worth more than £25m and has a lot of potential suitors in the Premier League, given his calibre, versatility, and English heritage, other than the fact that he’s only 25 years of age.
However, these might be the exact reasons combined with Chambers being a homegrown player for Arsenal might see him stay put, but out of all the centre-backs Arsenal might put up for sale, he is most likely to grab the highest price.
Next up, Sokratis Papastathopoulas. Sokratis has been a decent, short term cover as a centre-back for Arsenal, being a regular feature under Emery but going by the last few months, it seems his time at Arsenal is up. He has fallen down the pecking order and has found regular playing time harder to come by under Mikel Arteta.
The only problem? Sokratis doesn’t want to leave. The Greek defender’s agent recently came out saying:
“He [Sokratis] will stay. I don’t see a reason to leave. I don’t know why everyone is writing wrong and fake news.”
Hear me out on the next one – Shkodran Mustafi. Mustafi has often been a liability in the Arsenal defence but following the arrival of manager Mikel Arteta, he’s had an upturn in form and has put in great performances, with him being the most consistent and reliable defender under the Spaniard.
But let me ask you this, was there ever a better time to sell Mustafi than now? He’s coming off a great season and his stocks have risen and let’s not forget that he is 28-years-old. Now seems like an ideal time for the club to cash in on Mustafi and invest elsewhere in the team.
David Luiz is another defender who could have been shown the door, but the Brazilian recently signed a contract extension and looks set for another year at the Emirates.
Calum Chambers, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi, all seem to be surplus to requirements at Arsenal and would be most plausible ones to be shown the door to make room for a new defender signing in the form of rumoured target Gabriel Magalhaes. Nevertheless, new signing or not, Arsenal do need to get rid of the excess baggage and relieve their overextended wage bill.