How will Arsenal solve right-back conundrum?

Arsenal need to address the right back situation in the summer.

With Hector Bellerin’s injury, Stephan Lichtsteiner demise, Ainsley Maitland-Niles not really stepping up & Carl Jenkinson’s contract set to run out, we could be starting 2019/20 without a recognised right back.

So what are Arsenal’s options?

Sign an established right back

The first option would for Arsenal to spend big and go for an established right back.

The fear could be for Arsenal that is Bellerin is out for the start of the season, signing a raw talent or promoting someone from the youth team could leave the side weak on the right hand side. After an injury like what Bellerin had, the odds are high that he might break down again.

Arsenal should therefore target top-flight proven right back. Someone who could come in and not just provide cover for Bellerin, but also competition to him.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the man that springs to mind for this role.

The Crystal Palace right back might be raw, but is not as raw as other candidates we will speak about later. At 21-years-old, he would have a season of top flight Premier League football under his belt and is currently pushing for an England place.

He would cost a lot of money, but if he fulfils his potential he could become even better than Bellerin.

A cheaper option could be long term Arsenal target Ferland Mendy. I imagine there are plenty of other similar talents on the clubs radar.

Sign a raw talent

A cheaper option than signing an established right back is to go for a raw talent.

Over at GunnersTown there is a brilliant scouting report on Houboulang Mendes. He is a 20-year-old Frenchman currently playing in Ligue 2. He has all the natural attributes to be an Arsenal right back, but sound like a very unpolished diamond.

There is also Max Aarons at Norwich. Another who comes with a high reputation but only has a year of Championship football under his belt.

The issue with these sort of players is they might not yet be ready for the Premier League. And if Bellerin is not fit and ready to go at the beginning of next season, they could be exposed and lose confidence before they have even started.

My feeling would be if we signed Aarons or Mendes we would want to put them out on loan for a year. This does not solve our immediate problem.

Promote Jordi Osei-Tutu

If we are going to sign a raw talent, why not promote one of our own?

Jordi Osei-Tutu may well have had a chance in the Arsenal first team this season had he not picked up an early season injury ruling him out for the first quarter of the season.

He would likely have got game time in the Europa League and League Cup had he been fit.

Like with Aarons and Mendes, it would be a huge risk to install Osei-Tutu as Bellerin’s back up. The better options, as with the other 2, would be to send him on loan for a season.

Moving for the likes of Mendes or Aarons; or promoting Osei-Tutu could be a good budget option in the long term, but it would require someone else to be signed in the short term to cover the next 12 months.

Keep Carl Jenkinson

One short term option could be to keep what we have in Carl Jenkinson.

His contract runs out at the end of this season. We could offer him a new 2 year deal on his currently salary – rumoured to be around £45,000 a week. He would then provide short term cover for Bellerin over the next 12 months, whilst his long term cover (Mendes, Aarons or Osei-Tutu) gets top flight experience out on loan.

Buy Lichtsteiner MK II

The deal for Stephan Lichtsteiner did make sense.

Experienced short term cover for Hector Bellerin allowing us another 12 months to develop either Ainsley-Maitland Niles or Jordi Osei-Tutu.

Unfortunately Maitland-Niles has not kicked on and Osei-Tutu picked up an injury. This leaves us in a similar situation last year.

If Unai Emery decides that he wants to go for a raw talent and that Jenkinson is not sufficient short-term cover, scouring the world for a senior right back whose contract has expired could be an option.

Atletico Madrid’s Juanfran seems best to suit this bill.

Experienced and Spanish, he is set to leave Atletico in the summer on a free transfer. Would a one-year deal in the Premier League interest him? Perhaps if we offer him similar money to Lichtsteiner.

It would then be a similar scenario to keeping Jenkinson.

Arsenal get in the experienced man to cover Bellerin whilst they develop a raw talent who spends a year out on loan.


7 thoughts on “How will Arsenal solve right-back conundrum?

  1. Marcus

    Great article, considering there seems to be very little attention on this yet it is a very important thing.
    Bellerin’s injury has exposed us on that right hand side and as you have rightly said, an injury of that nature may result in another breakdown. Which means that we do need to sign a competitor, rather than cover, for this position. Truth is even when Bellerin is fit, no one comes near him and therefore he ends up playing almost all the games for us. On top of that because he knows this, I feel he may lose a bit of hunger to continue developing.
    So, that said, here is what I think:
    First, we need to get rid of all other RBs at AFC (excluding Niles who isn’t actually one). Jenko just doesn’t cut it & Lichtsteiner has been a liability every time he has been on the pitch. After, why not make a play for Monaco’s Djibril Sidibe? He is 26 years old so has at least 5-7 prime years ahead of him, brilliant defender, brilliant attacker as well, physical and fast. He would come in and start ahead of Bellerin, forcing him to up his game several levels which can only be a good thing.
    Away from RB, this is how I see us strengthening if we are to catch up with City/Liverpool:
    We need to sell deadwood. There are several players at Arsenal who just don’t cut it and I don’t think ever will. For me these players are Cech (retiring), Mustafi, Jenkinson, Lichtsteiner, Nacho (old), El neny, Rambo (gone), Welbeck, Chambers, Asano and Ospina. These players would raise significant funds and free up the wage bill for us to bring in new faces.
    GK – I would go for a young, very promising GK and promote Martinez. Not spend more than 5M pounds on this.

    Defense – Here we need a bit of an overhaul. I would sign 1 top class young CB (De Ligt/Mario Hermoso/Koulibaly), 1 RB – 2 if we let Nacho go (Keiran Tierney/Nicolas Tagliafico/Alex Grimaldo), 1 RB (Djibril Sidibe).

    Midfield – I would sign two players, a defensive minded midfielder (Rabiot/Abdoulaye Doucoure) and an attacking minded one – there are some top top class players who may be on the market and I think we should try for one (Isco/Coutinho/Fornals).

    Wingers – We need 1 or 2 young pure wingers (Pepe/Under/Dembele if Barca decide to sell). I would also bring Reiss back.

    As you’ve probably figured by now, pulling this off would require very sharp financial negotiation because we may not have the budget at hand to do this. However the reason I think we can do it is because we have Sanllehi who (1) has the contacts to recruit said players and (2) experience to negotiate financial plans that suit our budget. He did this time and time again at Barca, signing 70M+ players during periods when Barca was broke.


  2. Iain

    Come on Marcus. The incomings you mention are about £250m of players? The outgoings you mention would bring in maybe £50m – you are in la la land. I just dont get the need to play Championship Manager all the time and talk about Mancity style spending- you KNOW thats not gonna happen. Expect to see some of our exciting youth players coming in to the team and maybe 2 or 3 new incomings- NONE of them superstars. Under Kroenke this is the new normal.


    1. keenosafc Post author


      just some of the superstars you Arsenal have signed since Kroenke became majority share holder


    2. Marcus

      I did put a disclaimer that this is a lot of money but it is not impossible to do.

      Barca went through a financial dip between 2012 and 2015 in which period Sanllehi signed Suarez, Rakitic & Neymar. Especially because the big names I have mentioned save for Dembele & the defenders, may be offloaded by their teams. You realize that while it may take a great deal of negotiation on the payment plans, with a transfer budget of 120M, we can sign players worth up to 300M? A transfer of 70M can be secured with an upfront payment of as little as 10M.

      It’s possible.


  3. Stewart Bowling

    My view is that the main transfer spend should be at left back. In regards to RB, I do agree that there is concern even if Bellerin was due back at the start of the new season, it would take him some time to regain his form.
    Jenkinson needs to give up on the Arsenal dream and seek regular football elsewhere. If Maitland Niles does not start getting minutes in his proper position, then he should start looking elsewhere to prevent his career from going sideways.
    My preference would be to go the route of signing an experience professional on a short term basis along with integrating Osei Tu Tu into the first team.


    1. Sean

      I have a few thoughts on all of this and I will try not to scatter them all over the place. Arsenal has a few main issues. 1) a bloated wage bill 2) aging defense that lacks talent 3) no true wide players
      1) wage bill: Arsenal should have around £480k in wages per week coming off the books this summer in Czech, Monreal, Jenkinson, Lichtsteiner, Ramsey and Welbeck. Besides Ramsey all those players are past their prime or just don’t cut it and need to go. A decision needs to be made on Ozil. If Arsenal is investing £300k / wk on him he needs to play and he needs to have a huge role at the club.
      Players that could potentially leave:
      -Mustafi £90k/wk
      -Elneny £55k/wk
      -Possibly Ozil £300k/wk
      Personally I say if we are to give this team over to the leadership we have now in Unai, Raul Sanllehi and Vanai, then we need them to build the team as they see fit and give them as much financial flexibility as possible. That will mean that Arsenal will have to dump a lot of deadweight Wenger brought in. A point almost everyone on here is making. Clear the room of deadweight. As far as the defense goes, I would say at least 1 starting caliber CB is needed. Holding has shown promise, i’m Not sure where Mavraponos is in his maturity, but I know he is still young. Kosc is too old to play a full season as starter, but could be a solid rotation CB. Sokratis could be paired with a CB with more pace than him. Sokratis can be a great defender but he is slow. Right back could use some competition. Bellerin can put in some good performances and some shockingly bad ones. While Bellerin is a good attacking option, it would be nice to see a more solid defensive option. Maybe a RB a bit taller, stronger and more physical.
      Wide players: a position where Arsenal used to have so many options players wanted to leave due to lack of playing time. Now we have none. Oh the irony. I would love to add more insight into the type of target Arsenal should seek, but more importantly is the reason arsenal need wide players. Arsenal’s build up play through the middle lacks creativity and drive. Cazorla was a huge spark in hat regard and he has been sorely missed in that role. With Arsenal’s stack easily stalling in the middle of the pitch, wide players could be used to stretch the opposition to either side of the pitch opening up the middle for *Ozil (if he stays) or another attacking midfielder to exploit. No matter what Arsenal need to hit 100% on the players they bring in. Fuck depth. Our starting XI isn’t even set. Bring in quality players to fill positions of need. Next year we can look into depth.



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