Tag Archives: Calum Chambers

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

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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

Two out as Arsenal look to finance move for Samuel Umtiti

Arsenal have been heavily linked with Barcelona central defender Samuel Umtiti in recent weeks. At the moment it feels a bit like the media are putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5.

Umtiti has dropped to 3rd choice centre back for the Spanish giants this season, although this has more to do with a troublesome knee injury than anything else.

Since regaining fitness, Umtiti has found himself behind Gerard Pique and compatriot Clement Lenglet.

With Barcelona chasing Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, the talk is Barcelona will need to cash in on one of their other 3 defenders to accommodate him.

It is unlikely they will sell Gerard Pique, and the experienced campaigner would unlikely command a high transfer fee. That leaves Umtiti and Lenglet.

Umtiti would command a bigger transfer fee than Lenglet, and would also likely be less happy to sit on the bench behind de Ligt and Pique. All this in the mixing pot has led to the rumours that Umtiti will be off this summer.

The two clubs he has been linked with are Arsenal and Manchester United – the two Premier League sides most in need of a centre back; although Chelsea are surely going to be desperate for one this summer as well.

Umtiti would be a brilliant signing for Arsenal.

25-years-old, he is an athletic centre back who is naturally left sided. You can foresee him fitting in nicely alongside Sokratis in the short term.

The stumbling block however will be the fee.

Umtiti has been touted around at the £60million mark, which would take up the majority of Arsenal’s existing transfer kitty.

So how would Arsenal afford Umtiti whilst leaving enough money to buy a central midfielder, winger and a left back?

The easy answer is that they need to sell to be, and we have to sellable central defenders who could find themselves surplus to requirements were Umtiti to join.

The first is Shokdran Mustasfi.

The German international has had a tough time of late, with every error magnified online.

He is not as bad as some people make out, but he is not the level required for a starting central defender.

Unai Emery has been unable to drop him recently despite poor form. Injuries to Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny and Kostadinos Mavropanos have left Arsenal with two fit central defenders.

With Sokratis set for a 2 match ban, Mustafi has a part to play in the run in.

Despite his poor recent form, Arsenal would still be able to command a decent fee for Mustafi.

He is not on huge wages (£90,000 per week) and would start for every team outside of the top 6. Were Everton, Wolves, Watford or Leicester to move for him, Arsenal could easily recoup £20million.

Umtiti should be seen as a direct replacement for Mustafi.

If Arsenal made the two deals, it would leave us with Umtiti, Sokratis, Holding, Koscielny and Mavropanos as out defensive options. It would give us strong cover.

The man not mentioned above is Calum Chambers, and he is another that Arsenal should cash in on.

Chambers is currently performing well at Fulham. Despite their struggles, he has been their shining light playing central midfield.

His good form has led for some Arsenal fans to call for his return, but his time at Arsenal is clearly up.

Chambers left on loan to Fulham having found himself behind Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding and Koscielny in the pecking order. He has since made a bit of a name for himself playing in the middle of the park for Fulham.

Were he to return he would still be 5th choice centre back at best (if we signed Umtiti) and would also be behind Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.

Taking into account how little game time Ainsley Maitland-Niles has had (in the middle of the park or Mohamed Elneny, Chambers would simply not play.

Due to his good form at Fulham, Arsenal would likely receive £20m+ for him.

Any of the promoted sides would snap him up, as well as the lower end Premier League teams. He would be an asset to all of them.

So were Arsenal to sell Chambers and Mustafi, we would raise over £40million, which would be 2/3s of Umtiti’s transfer fee. That would leave plenty more in the pot to improve elsewhere.

Maybe Arsenal should go in with £80million and snap up both Umtiti and Malcolm?

Going to be a big summer for Unai Emery.

Keenos