Arsenal’s transfer activity is set to hit full-swing in the coming weeks with the sponsorship with Puma officially starting and Arsene Wenger returning from the World Cup in Brazil after keeping tabs on plenty of targets, as well as holding meetings with certain individuals representatives.
With all the talk discussing strikers and defensive midfield stars, one area of the squad which is often overlooked, but does need strengthening, is in the central of defence. The back-line has been Arsenal’s undoing a number of times over the past few years but fortunately this year we managed to cope- but there were concerns as we leaked goals against the top clubs in the league.
With Per Mertesaker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal have three quality centre-backs with international experience. However, three centre-backs isn’t enough to endure a full-season campaign with, as an injury to one of those players screws up plans. When you add to the mix that Vermaelen could be on his way out of North London, it starts to get quite worrying.
Therefore, we can expect Arsene Wenger to bring in at least one central defender this summer. Dejan Lovren and Steven Caulker’s names have been mentioned by several media outlets but, assuming we keep hold of Vermaelen, they should be overlooked as they would both want first-team assurances, which we can’t offer.
Should we keep our current crop of central defenders, then a young centre-back should be brought in. If Vermaelen leaves, then we should bring in an experienced defender along with a youngster. This is by far the best practices and here’s three reasons why that is the case.
1. Current Central-Defenders Ageing
Football is a brutal industry where there is no place for the old. In optimistic circumstances, players can enjoy their careers in the to-flight until their mid-thirties. However, this is usually far from the case. An increase in age often goes hand-in-hand with a decrease in form, a decrease in first-team opportunities and, eventually, a move to a smaller club.
At Arsenal, Per Mertesaker is the veteran of the defence at 29-years of age. However, Koscielny and Vermaelen are both not too far behind him, at 28. Realistically we can enjoy a few more years of service from them all but age brings injuries, more often than not, and at such a delicate stage in their careers an injury to one of these players could spell the end for their career at a top-club.
A young defender gives us fail-safe should the unthinkable occur. We’d have a player on our hands ready to step-in should he be needed, while he would also spend his time on a daily basis learning from the best (more on that later). Use the page numbers below to navigate through the rest of the article.