Earlier this week Calum Chambers became Arsenal’s fourth summer signing, and the third to swap the south coast for North London under Arsene Wenger, following in Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s footsteps.
Depending on who you believe, the reported fee differs. Some say it’s an outright £16 million up-front, whilst others say it is £11 million up-front with add-ons to come in the future, based on appearances etc. The 19 year-old right-back has only played 22 league fixtures in his career and many would argue that, whichever transfer figure is true, that Arsenal have paid over the odds for an inexperienced player.
However though, as we all know (and Wenger rightly pointed out this week) the price to pay for English players, especially young talent is inflated, look at the prices of Luke Shaw and Phil Jones in recent seasons for example. Meanwhile, fellow right-back addition Mathieu Debuchy is already 29 and was only given a three-year contract, so you’d expect Calum Chambers to come in and fill the void once the Frenchman’s deal is up. I imagine this is the idea Wenger has in my mind, and in the future would like both Carl Jenkinson and Chambers to contest the right-back birth.
At such a young age Chambers has a very bright future ahead of him, in the week Wenger pointed out the versatility of the player and though predominantly a right-back he can play at centre-back and in the centre of midfield. Many in the game have said that Chambers could potentially be a centre-back in years to come so it’ll be interesting to see where he’ll eventually be deployed. Last season for the Saints he notched up just over 20 appearances, sharing the role of right-back with Nathaniel Clyne. Generally, he was very impressive. His defensive stats were sound, on average he made 2.08 tackles a game and won over 50% of his aerial duels, whilst also making around 2 interceptions every 90 minutes. Going in the other direction, like every modern full-back, Chambers was also quite impressive. His pass completion was 79%, also making around 30 forward passes per game, showing how direct and forward thinking the player is.
On the whole the signing of Calum Chambers will prove to be a good one. Whilst the fee paid now may be slightly questionable he is a player with vast potential and will improve drastically in the future. Wenger is a fantastic nurturer of young talent and with the player’s versatility I expect he’ll be a regular starter within a couple of seasons. Also, for such a young pro he shows maturity beyond his age. He is very calm and collected on the ball and is very comfortable attacking and defending. Give the boy time and in years to come the price we paid will seem like a bargain.