Anyone who watches the Gunners in action can make out that the team is in desperate need of a defender. The Arsenal defence woes have taken top priority, with 5 defenders injured.
With Rob Holding, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Shkodran Mustafi all on the sidelines and Laurent Koscielny just back from a 6 month injury bringing about a sub-par performance, the only competent and acceptable center-back in an Arsenal defence side aiming to finish in the top 4 is Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
As the January transfer window edges closer, the gaffer has a golden opportunity to bolster the Arsenal defence. Although there were speculations that there might not be any fresh legs arriving at the Emirates this winter, Emery when questioned on the possibility of signing a center-back, revealed to the Arsenal website,
“In this transfer window if we have one good opportunity to help us and sign someone, we are working for that.”
Arsenal boss Unai Emery admits he’s looking for a center-back in January.
— Vivaro News Sport (@VnewsSport) December 13, 2018
In light of the manager’s comments and the established fact of the need to acquire a central defender, I believe the 3 optimal options for a great Arsenal defence are:
The former England centre-half is out of contract at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and could be an appropriate short-term replacement for injured Holding.
The Chelsea veteran has been handed just 21 minutes of action in the English top flight by Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri. When the Blue’s manager was asked about Cahill’s potential move to the North side of the city, he answered,
“It is not my decision, but it is up to him and the club. He is in the last year of the contract, he has to decide for a new contract here or another club. For the over 30s, the club usually offers only one year of contract. If he has an offer of three years he can of course choose something. It doesn’t depend if I am sentimental or not.”
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) December 25, 2018
Real Valladolid centre-back Calero has proven to be an appealing target for the Arsenal defence and other clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla due to his release clause of just £10 million.
Real Valladolid sit just 4 points shy of European qualification in the La Liga table with a defence that conceded only as many goals as Barcelona and Real Madrid. Calero has been an integral part of Valladolid with the Spaniard playing every minute in the league.
The 23-year-old further fumed the speculations on the weekend when he revealed that he was in London. However, the defender cooled down the rumors via Twitter by saying,
“I’m a little tired of being told false information about me. I’m just enjoying my days off with my girlfriend in London. Merry Christmas.”
— Transfer Site (@TransferSite) December 26, 2018
The 24-year-old has not been a consistent part of the Manchester United team this season. After being substituted after just 19 minutes of the 3-2 win over Newcastle on October 6, Bailly did not make another appearance until December 5, which was against Arsenal.
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When Gunner legend Alan Smith was asked about the potential transfer of the Ivorian to North London for the Arsenal defence, he said,
“Eric Bailly obviously is of a good age. He came into the United team and did really well. But he’s one of a few that got the wrong side of José Mourinho it seems, so there’s potential there.”
Even subsequent to Mourinho and The Red Devils parting ways, caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to use Bailly as an unused substitute against both Cardiff City and Huddersfield.
Eric Bailly is said to be keen on leaving Manchester United in January – Arsenal are keen on signing the defender [Record] pic.twitter.com/0T5iUu6IEx
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) November 16, 2018
I think the Emirates outfit needs to prioritize acquisition of a quality center-back if they want to leave behind the dreadful record of attaining a single clean sheet in 12 league games.
Not only for the short term but if the London Giants want to get back in the Champions league after 2 consecutive seasons in the Europa League, new blood is imperative in the Arsenal defence.
It may not be fair to expect a huge signing for the Arsenal defence this season, but a solution is still needed to alleviate the defensive woes at the club.