Yesterday I was doing what a lot of us do when bored, writing down how I hope the Arsenal squad would look next season.
When I got to central defenders, I had Calum Chambers in the “sell” column, I then began to doubt myself.
Next season Arsenal need to sign a right back to cover Hector Bellerin and a central midfielder to (potentially) replace Mohamed Elneny.
In the squad at the moment we have utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The Englishman has spent a lot of his senior Arsenal career playing full back or wing back; but there has always been the feeling that he is best playing in the middle of the park.
Maitland-Niles would be a competent 2nd choice right back behind Bellerin, and 4th choice central midfielder backing up Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira & Matteo Guendouzi. What he can not be, however, is both at one time. That will leave the squad too short of players.
So next season Arsenal need to add either a back up for Bellerin to the squad, and have Maitland-Niles as a specialist midfielder, or a central midfielder and continue pushing Maitland-Niles to right back.
Straight away your mind will start thinking about “what players we could buy”.
If we decide to pursue a central midfielder instead, Joan Jordan from Eibar in Spain has been heavily linked in recent weeks. There has also been plenty of talk about Adrien Rabiot.
Arsenal could, however, decide to fill the role from within and use Calum Chambers.
Like Maitland-Niles, Chambers has spent a lot of his career playing at both full-back and central midfield. He has been the shining light for Fulham this season and has seen his stock rise.
His performances for Fulham create a double positive for Arsenal.
His value would have soared after his performances. He is certainly good enough to play midfield for a mid-table Premier League side. We would expect northwards of £20million were we to sell him.
But he has also proved that he is a reliable, Premier League quality central midfielder.
If Arsenal went out into the transfer market, would we find a better player than Chambers to be 4th choice. Add in his Premier League experience and home grown status and keeping him as 4th choice would be attractive.
You could have him in a job share alongside Maitland-Niles.
Both cover similar positions, but both are very different players.
Chambers is more defensive; whilst Maitland-Niles better at getting forward.
Were Bellerin to be out against (for example) Brighton at home, it would make more sense to play Maitland-Niles at right back rather than Chambers. But if we were away to Manchester City, the more defensive option in Chambers would be better.
In the middle of the park, who plays could depend on who is out.
Xhaka and Torreira are a good partnership.
The Swiss-man is fairly static whilst Torreira gets around the park.
Were it Xhaka to be out, you would probably punt for Chambers, who would provide a disciplined defensive option in the middle. This would then free up Torreira or Guendouzi to press.
And if it was Torreira that was out, Maitland-Niles would be preferable so that you keep someone with high energy alongside Xhaka.
Instead of pigeon holing both Maitland-Niles and Chambers into one position or another, you could have them covering both right back and the defensive midfield.
Both would be 2nd choice right back. Both would be 4th choice central midfielder. And who plays depends on the opponent.
I am still leaning towards selling Chambers.
The £20-30million that we could receive for him could be put alongside the £20-30million that we would also get for selling Shkodran Mistafi. That could then be rapped up and spent on a top class defender such as Samuel Umtiti.
This option would still leave us need to buy either a new right back or a 4th choice central midfielder; which we could easily afford due to having around £100million available to us this summer.
Chambers just gives us something to think about.