Arsene Wenger ready to refresh Emirates defence, could these two be just the ticket?
Arsène Wenger looks for summer solution to problem in Arsenal’s central defence
Arsenal will make central defence a priority during this summer’s transfer window, with Arsène Wenger mindful that William Gallas, Mikaël Silvestre and Sol Campbell are all out of contract at the end of the season.
Talks with Gallas, who would like the security of a two-year contract extension, remain ongoing, although the France defender’s negotiating position is hardly being helped by what Wenger described as an “endless calf strain”.
Gallas will be 33 in August, but has not played since the 1-0 win against Liverpool more than a month ago and is a major doubt for the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League quarter-final, on March 30 or 31.
As well as the problem to his calf, Gallas had played through the pain of a back injury earlier this season. “It is going on and on – it is a concern,” Wenger said.
Silvestre is also due to hold contract talks this month, while Campbell, who has been generally deputising for Gallas in the most difficult matches, is likely to wait until the end of the season before finalising his future.
With Johan Djourou still recovering from a long-term knee injury and Philippe Sender’s on loan at Everton, it leaves Thomas Vermaelen as the only fit and available centre-back whose long-term future is settled.
Even if Gallas does eventually agree to stay for another year, Wenger is likely to recruit at least one centre-back this summer.
Wenger has been monitoring Fulham’s Brede Hangeland and, with Arsenal having recently recorded pre-tax profits of £35.2 million, he could certainly afford one major signing. (Daily Telegraph)
Arsene Wenger has shown interest in bringing both Brede Hangeland and Neven Subotic to the Emirates and this summer he would do well to invest a large chunk of any transfer warchest in strengthening and rejuvenating an ageing and stuttering back line.
Even if William Gallas does put pen to paper on an extended deal there is still a very real problem at Arsenal in relation to their back four. Defensive problems are not the norm at the north London club. Over the past two decades Arsenal have been able to rely on a stable back four with a competent keeper behind them but that doesn’t appear to be the case at present.
Sol Campbell has been very effective since his return and there is no doubting the ability of summer capture Thomas Vermaelen. However Fulham’s towering Norwegian could well be a good signing and the type of player Wenger could get the most out of. Borussia Dortmund centre back Neven Subotic is one for the future and the 21 year old Serbian may be a youthful prospect but he has already shown himself to have quality during his stint in the Bundesliga.
Arsene Wenger has seen his side show great character of late and if they do manage to break their silverware drought this term then it will be some achievement given the injury concerns the club have had to deal with. It seems highly likely that either way the Arsenal boss will invest in some relatively big money signings this summer and either, or both, these two defenders would be a good place to start.