How badly do Arsenal need a CB after Gabriel is ruled out?
Gabriel has today taken to social media to announce that despite the severity of the injury he looked to sustain against Manchester City, it will only rule him out until around October.
I say ‘only’ like its a good thing, but in reality two months without one central defender puts a big strain on your squad, not to mention the fact that Arsenal of course also have long term absentee Per Mertesacker out through injury at least until Christmas. Both injures will mean that it’s also certain that Wenger needs to dip into the transfer market, bearing Laurent Koscielny will also miss the start of the season.
But given that Koscielny will probably only miss the first game, perhaps the second, how much should Arsenal be looking to spend on a centre back? Both Chambers and Holding have looked relatively impressive during pre-season, despite such inexperience at a high level. With this in mind I think we may just be able to scrap by with their partnership, in Koscielny’s absence for the first game(s). The two main issues that Wenger faces are that firstly the opposition strikers they will come up against from Liverpool and Leicester will make the games very tough for them. Both teams are known to have a speedy strike force and neither Chambers not Holding is particularly quick. Secondly our backup defender is now arguably youth team player Krystian Beilik, whilst Coquelin has also been training in defence. This means that we have no recognised defender on the bench, should one of the two need to come off the pitch.
With all this in mind, should Arsenal really be looking to spend big bucks on an experienced centre back for the sake of a few games without Koscielny, or should he be targeting a ‘cover’ type of player? If Wenger buys someone like Mustafi or even Evans, where does that leave Chambers and Holding when all the defenders are fully fit? It’s a big decision for Wenger to make and a very important one too. Is it vital Arsenal buy a covering centre back for the sake of the first few games?