“We need defenders” is the reply by many to posts about Nicolas Pepe.
Some Arsenal fans are confused as to why we are spending big on one of the most exciting attacking players in Europe whilst neglecting a creaking defence which still contains Shkodran Mustafi. The answer is simple.
Arsenal need to sell before they can buy.
We do not need to sell because we need the money; we need to sell because we have too many defenders.
As it stands, we have 6 central defenders in our senior squad.
Now you can moan about the quality of those, and any moaning would be justified, but the problem Arsenal face is were we to buy a new face without selling, it would leave us with 7 centre backs. Last season we had 5.
In a balanced squad, you do not need 7 central defenders. Five is probably the maximum.
Last season we went into the season with 5 centre backs: Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding, Koscielny & Mavropanos. Chambers spent the season on loan at Fulham.
Mavropanos played just 4 games all season, despite Holding & Koscielny both having long absences and Arsenal going to 3 at the back at times. Holding started just 9 Premier League games.
We clearly do not need 7 centre backs.
So Arsenal need to sell before they can buy, which is easier said than done.
Before pre-season started, Arsenal would have been looking to move on Chambers and Mustafi – the pair would have commanded over £40million between them.
This would have left Arsenal with 4 centre backs – Sokratis (who would start), Holding (who is injured), Koscielny (who is a faded force) and Mavropanos (unproven), leaving us plenty of space for a 5th choice to partner Sokratis.
Fast forward a year, Koscielny leaves and William Slaiba comes in to replace him.
And then Koscielny decided he no longer wanted to play for Arsenal, leaving the best laid plans in ruins.
With Koscielny likely to leave, it means Arsenal have to keep hold of either Chambers or Mustafi. The clubs preference is likely Chambers as he is:
- Home grown
- More versatile
The problem is no bids have come in for Mustafi, and this is what is causing the club staff a head ache.
If Arsenal could get rid of Mustafi, they could then go ahead and sign a new central defender. That would then allow us to give Koscielny his wish – a return to France.
As it stands, Mustafi is going nowhere, which will leave Arsenal having to sell Chambers or, worst case scenario, keep both and lose Koscielny