Acknowledged by all, Arsene needs to recruit one or two centre-backs.
The addition of Silvestre was a disaster. Gallas may or may not stay for another season, position wise he is the best reader of the game at the club, but he is losing speed and is not brilliant in the air. Toure is a fighter can be flustered easily. His best form is when he plays alongside a real centre-back like Campbell or Gallas. Djourou is developing well, but to expect him to come in and be the leading person at the back is asking too much of him, so recruit we must.
Domestically there are three candidates.
Matthew Upson, a player we sold because he could not break into the team at the time and was suffering with injuries. Upson knows the game, but as he is 30 years old so will not be a long term prospect. Arsenal may try to use Vela’s impending loan spell at Upton Park as leverage in acquiring Upson.
A much younger player, but well respected within the game is Middlesbrough’s David Wheater. With Middlesbrough about to be relegated, a £6 million offer from Arsenal could see Wheater move to Arsenal. Whilst he is not the experienced player we have all been craving for, he has definitely a player who has put in some commanding performances this season.
Newcastle United’s Sebastien Bassong is another who has been mentioned. He is 22 years-old, but has not really performed spectacularly this season, saying that no many Newcastle players have! The plus points of Bassong is that he is French (always a plus for Arsene) and he can play at left-back. As with Wheater, Bassong is not the experienced player we have all been calling for.
Looking abroad we have Real Madrid’s centre-back Christopher Metzelder. Metzelder is highly regarded in Germany, but through a combination of injuries and the revolving managerial door policy at the Bernebeu, Metzelder has hardly featured in his two years.
Arsenal scouts have been seen at Stuttgart’s games recently with former Chelsea player Khalid Boulahrouz being their target. Boulahrouz had an indifferent spell at Chelsea and the Blues could not wait to sell him at a massive loss. He has Premier League experience and is a full international, so he may be the player who brings the experience to the club.
Looking further afield, Arsenal should look at Russia. You are guaranteed to find a no nonsense defender there, players who are prepared to scrap and fight for every ball, and with Arshavin at the club he may help sway any player into joining us. At CSKA Moscow are the Berezutski twins Alexei and Vasili. Alexei plays as a centre-back, but has also operated as a full-back. His brother also operates as a centre-back and full-back and both players are contracted until 2011. Whether we have the financial muscle and will to take on another Russian team remains to be seen, but if we were to try and buy these two away from CSKA we will be guaranteed of acquiring two quality players.
In a strange move, Arsene is reported to offer £5M plus Bendtner to West Ham for Matthew Upson. This peculiar in that Upson is valued by Wenger at more than Arshavin. If this deal goes through, it leaves the futures of Gallas and/or Toure in limbo. Upson will not move to Arsenal to play second fiddle and Djourou is by far our most accomplished centre-back at the moment. If Toure is the man to move, then we need to demand £15M from Manchester City. If Man City are prepared to pay £12M plus for Bellamy and in excess of £15M for Santa Cruz, then we need to cash in on the lunatics at Eastlands.
During his spell at Arsenal Matthew Upson came accross Tony Adams and Martin Keown and was unable to dislodge either. When the two were injured, it was unfortunate that Upson was also injured and was unable to show what he could do.
If Bendtner leaves, then Wenger must be very hopeful that Vela is up to first team regular football and that Eduardo will be match fit soon, otherwise we are down to van Persie and Adebayor.