Is investment in the defence required?

For the first time in a long time, I look at our defence and think “we do not much investment”.

Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel and Olexsandr Zinchenko are all 25 or under and is up there with the best back 4s in the league.

It would be hard to upgrade on the existing back 4, but what about what is in reserve?

At full back, alongside White and Zinchenko we also have Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney. And coming through the youth team is Brooke Norton-Cuffy and Lino Sousa.

The odd one out is Cedric Soares.

With White’s move to right back, he is surplus to requirements. I wouldn’t be surprised if he left us in January.

Where we do perhaps need investment is in central defence.

In the summer, I would not have said this. We had Saliba, Gabriel, White and Rob Holding. A solid set of 4.

But since then, White has made the right back position his own. We now need to disregard him when talking about our 3 central defensive options.

When a player is injured, you should always look to make as few changes as possible.

Whilst if Saliba of Gabriel picked up a knock, we could move White inside and play Tomiyasu outside, that would require two changes. And Rob Holding is not good enough to be 3rd choice centre back.

A case can easily be made for us to sign a new centra defender – although I imagine this will not happen until the summer.

Someone that can provide Gabriel and Saliba with better cover than Holding currently does. The name Evan Ndicka has been floated about a bit.

The French defender is just 23 and playing for Eintracht Frankfurt. A classy left footed individual, he looks ready to take a step up. His contract also expires this summer.

Recruiting him would give Mikel Arteta like-for-like cover and competition for Gabriel, and the squad depth needed for the Champions League.

Ben White would then become the 4th centre back option – 1st choice right back and 4th central defender.

We have seen with Manchester City over the years how tough it is to find decent ball playing defenders that can also defend. They have gone big to recruit John Stone, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias. They also have Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji.

We do not have the money to recruit this strength in depth (not make the mistakes they have in the transfer market), so it might be preferable to stick with what we know in Rob Holding.

The defence is certainly not a priority over the next two windows – midfield and attack is where we need to invest heavily. But if the scouting department can spot the right player, at the right cost, we should move for them.

Keenos

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