Tag Archives: Calum Chambers

Why haven’t Arsenal signed a senior centre back?

“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.

Sokratis
Shkodran Mustafi
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
Calum Chambers
Kostadinos Mavropanos

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:

  1. Home grown
  2. Younger
  3. 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

Keenos

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Why Arsenal signing William Saliba and sending him on loan makes PERFECT sense

Rumours circulated yesterday that Arsenal had agreed terms with 18-year-old French central defender William Saliba. All is to remain is to agree a fee with St Etienne.

Part of the expected deal is that Saliba remains at St Etienne on loan for next season. It is a term that makes complete sense.

Whilst most will question why we are buying a much needed central defender for £20million, only to loan him out, it makes a lot of sense once you work through everything logically.

Saliba will not be Arsenal’s only central defensive signing this summer.

With Shkodran Mustafi likely to be sold, it would leave Arsenal with just 3 senior centre backs. Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Rob Holding. Holding is injured and Koscielny is in nearly ready for the knackers’ yard.

It would be a very naive decision if Arsenal let Mustafi leave and do not buy a senior replacement. That senior replacement would not be Saliba.

So let’s imagine Arsenal sold Mustafi and signed a senior central defender – someone aged around 25-years-old and Saliba. It would leave us with:

Sokratis
New CB
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
William Saliba
Calum Chambers
Kostadinos Mavropanos

With 7 central defenders, something would have to give.

For a start, I imagine Calum chambers would be sold. His fee would basically pay for Saliba; getting rid of any budget concerns. That would leave us with 6.

You do not need 6 central defenders in the squad. 5 maximum. That means you can afford to loan someone out. Remember Chambers spent last season out on loan.

So you buy a starting XI replacement for Mustafi. You then buy a replacement for Chambers; who spends a year on loan akin to Chambers spending. The status quo of squad numbers remains the same. 5 central defenders with 1 on loan:

Sokratis
New CB
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
Kostadinos Mavropanos

Loaned: William Saliba
Sold: Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers

It is important that young players play. Over the years so many talented teenagers have failed to progress to senior professionals due to lack of game time.

Saliba is just 18-years-old and has just half a season of 1st team football under his belt. A full season on loan at St Etienne, playing week in week out will return a much better player.

In 2020 Arsenal would then be getting a 19-year-old defender with over 60 senior games to his name. He would then be much closer to challenging for the 1st team.

So let’s fast forward to 2020. Laurent Koscielny leaves. Saliba joins up with the first team:

Sokratis
New CB
Rob Holding
William Saliba
Kostadinos Mavropanos

Sokratis will then  be 32-years-old and have 1 year left on his contract. With the new central defender established having played a full year of Premier League football, it will then be a choice of who plays next to him. Either Sokratis, Holding or Saliba.

Saliba would still be just 19-years-old at this point, so we would not have to rush his development. He could comfortably spend a season as 3rd choice centre back for the 2020/21 season before kicking on to be 1st choice a season later.

Buying a senior centre back to replace Mustafi and then Saliba to replace Chambers and spend a year on loan makes perfect sense. It would show brilliant foresight and succession planning.

And once we shift Chambers, Saliba will have next to zero net impact on our transfer budget.

Keenos

Arsenal pair to “job share” next season

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”.

Houboulang Mendes is one name that has been mentioned a few times. You then have the young lad Max Aarons at Norwich. There are also senior options such as Juanfran on a free from Atletico Madrid.

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.

Keenos