The Young Guns Column: Why Calum Chambers Was Actually A Bargain


Something scandalous happened last week as Arsene Wenger, the man who doesn’t spend, opened up his purse once again to purchase a Southampton youngster and break the all-time Arsenal record for spending in a transfer window.

An expensive, teenage arrival is hardly surprising for Wenger- especially a Southampton one, as Chambers follows the footsteps of former Saints stars Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The arrival of Chambers was extremely well received by the Arsenal faithful, which is ironic because if Chambers was the first arrival of the summer, people would’ve lost their minds.

Of course this is Arsenal and no business or anything club related can occur without some backlash from somewhere. With Chambers, it was the £16m fee spent to recruit the 19-year-old right-back.

It is a very large sum of money and puts Chambers as the third most expensive signing in Arsenal’s history, behind Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. For the record, all three have arrived in the past 11 months as Wenger’s 10 year plan comes to fruit.

Whilst there’s no denying Wenger has forked out a massive amount of cash for the services of a player who wasn’t even guaranteed first-team football on the South coast, it’s actually a bargain. Before you all kick off, hear me out.

Arsene Wenger himself has stated that Calum Chambers has arrived to provide cover for three positions- right back, centre back and central midfield. He will occupy the right side of the defence most of the time, competing with Mathieu Debuchy for a starting place, but will also have chances in the middle as we all know what Arsenal’s injury record is like.

Central midfield looks unlikely for the time being, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and many more ahead of him in the pecking order. Still, the fact remains that Chambers is a terrific squad player.

Chambers on the bench provides an option for three positions, thus reducing the selection headache for the bench. If Arsenal keep hold of Thomas Vermaelen, then those two players will provide two options for the defence- in the centre and on their respective flanks.

The centre of defence is an area where Arsenal have sorely needed to improve, as their squad depth has been very poor. Last year, the club had just three central defenders to compete in four campaigns. Whilst there’s still the same amount of recognised players in that position currently, Chambers is an improvement.

If Arsenal had elected to purchase a central defender to provide cover, then a high-quality player would have cost at least £8m. Even that’s a tad optimistic, when David Luiz fetched £50m and Liverpool signed Dejan Lovren for £20m.

Then, Arsenal still would have had to purchase an alternative on the right side to Debuchy, as it became clear Carl Jenkinson won’t have his chance just yet. Again, that’s a fee of around the same price, minimum, which takes the fee up to £16m for the two players required.

As mentioned, this is very optimistic pricing and in truth the fee would have probably been around the £20m mark or higher. For less than that price, Arsenal have got a young player with bags of potential that can play in both positions, as well as provide cover in the centre of midfield.

Think of it as three highly-rated players for £16m. Sounds good doesn’t it? Well, that’s Calum Chambers in a nutshell. Hats off to Wenger for another piece of shrewd business this window and long may it continue!

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