Defensive Problems At The Emirates Stadium: Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger On A Hunt
Arsene Wenger is one of the unluckiest managers in England. He has been falling short of his promises to deliver trophies for the Gunners fans for a long time now. Whenever things seem to be in place, some problems are created which results in everything falling apart once again.
During the last season, Arsenal looked set to challenge the other big teams; however, an untimely injury to Robin van Persie resulted in a struggling season for the Gunners. Even this season, Arsenal had a lot of injury woes before their first match of the campaign against Liverpool. Somehow, Arsenal did manage to get a draw out of that match at Anfield despite a lot of big players missing, including Cesc Fabregas and Van Persie. In their second match, Arsenal routed recently promoted Blackpool 6-0. Despite these promising results, Arsenal’s biggest problem has begun to raise its head.
At the start of the season, all the players leaving Arsenal were their defenders. Philippe Senderos was sold to Fulham, while William Gallas, Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre have left Arsenal on a free transfer. This has left Wenger with almost no options for the central defence position. The only player who has some experience under his belt is Thomas Vermaelen. He was signed last year from Ajax, and he proved to be exceptional, especially because of his unique goal-scoring qualities. Apart from him, there are some other options available, but none of them is recognized as an established defender.
Other defenders in Arsenal’s squad include Johan Djourou, Senderos’ teammate from Switzerland. Last year, Djourou starred in only one Premier League match for Arsenal, in which he came in as a substitute. Previously, he almost has no experience at all while playing for Arsenal; however, he did play for a short while for Birmingham. Also, he is known for his lack of concentration which can put Arsenal in big trouble, especially in their big matches.
Apart from Djourou, Arsenal has the services of Kieran Gibbs, who is an English youngster. Although he is a promising youngster, like Djourou he does not have many matches under his belt. Last season, he played only three league matches, which is not enough for Wenger to put his trust in the youngster. However, he is still a good option as a substitute, as he is a young player with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the game. Also, he is fast and has good tendency to attack.
Wenger also signed a new player from Lorient this summer: Laurent Koscielny. Koscielny is a defender who is known for his great anticipation and rugged tackling. Also, unlike other defenders that Arsenal have had in recent years, he is supposed to be good in the air. In his debut against Liverpool, Koscielny was having a great game, as he made superb challenges in defence. Also, he seemed to possess a great pace as well. However, he was ultimately shown a red card for intentionally trying to handle the ball. This was a disastrous end to an overall good match by Koscielny, which puts Wenger in further dilemma. His new signing, like his old players, is not trustworthy.
Therefore, Wenger is on the hunt again, to fill the gap in central defence of Arsenal. There is still some time left before the transfer window closes, and Wenger would be trying to generate some cash for a new signing. The person on top of his list is Sebastien Squillaci, the defender who currently plays for Sevilla. Squillaci is also interested in a move to Arsenal, as he refused to start in Sevilla’s Champions League qualification match. However, Wenger said that the deal is far from being over, as the club is still in process of producing necessary funds for the player.
The deal is very important for Wenger, who just might fall short of his promises once again. This might be his last chance, as he would lose Cesc Fabregas next year as well. Then, there would be a few more years of waiting, which would only frustrate the fans. If this deal does not go through, Wenger must look at other options as well. One thing is clear, Arsenal desperately needs a defender, otherwise, they will not be able to pose any threat in the current season of the English Premier League.