Who will drop down the pecking order on Mustafi’s arrival!
It is all but confirmed that Arsenal will be signing Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi in the coming days in what is expected to be a £35 million deal.
The price is a hefty one for Arsene Wenger, especially for a defender and so we will all be eagerly anticipating what the German international will bring to Arsenal football club. There is no doubt that Mustafi will be a first choice centre back for Arsenal because if your Arsene Wenger, you don’t spend £35 million on a player who is going to spend most of his time sitting on the bench. It means that one of our current crop of central defenders will lose his place in the squad and here we will assess who is likely to fall down the pecking order.
Laurent Koscielny for me is Arsenal’s best central defender and there’s no doubt about it. Even with the addition of Mustafi, Koscielny will still remain as our best defender in my opinion. Koscielny’s return to the Arsenal side just goes to show how much stronger he makes that back line. Koscielny offers so much strength and stability at the back and now that he is finally being paired with another (hopefully) top class defender, Arsenal fans can be assured that the defensive line is no longer a concern.
Per Mertesacker was still a first choice centre back for Arsenal last season, however this year after picking up an injury during pre-season, it seems like Mustafi’s German compatriot may be set to lose his place in the team. Mertesacker’s injury will keep him out until Christmas at least and then even after that date I’d expect the likes of Holding and Gabriel to be ahead of him. Mertesacker used to use his ability to read the game to make up for his lack of pace, however now that it seems his legs may be tiring with the physical demands of the Premier League, perhaps Mertesacker’s time at Arsenal is also coming to an end.
Rob Holding is Arsenal’s other defensive signing of the window and has looked impressive after being very much forced into the first team. After joining from relegated championship side Bolton, many expected the inexperienced Holding to struggle straight away with moving to a top premier league side. However although he had a shakey game in defence with Chambers against Liverpool, alongside Koscielny Holding has looked very solid and he definitely holds plenty of promise. I think given the start to his Arsenal career that he has had, Holding will be very unlucky to lose his place to Mustafi when he comes in.
Calum Chambers looked relatively impressive during pre-season, but was at fault on several occasions during the opener against Liverpool. Very much like the game against Swansea in which he was shown up at Right Back, it seems that Chambers has once again fallen down the pecking order and is now apparently set for a loan move away.
Gabriel is in my opinion a defender who I don’t have much faith in. He has shown to be aggressive, determined and pacey, but I also see a clumsy side to his game and I still think he lacks the necessary communication skills needed to play at such a position. I think if Gabriel doesn’t improve soon and he doesn’t a good campaign this season, then we could soon see the Brazilian leaving the Gunners for good.
With all that in mind then, it seems that Calum Chambers will be at the bottom of the pile when it comes to Arsenal’s current crop of defenders. But if Chambers is set to go on loan then despite how much I like Mertesacker as a passionate player, he has to be the one who loses his place in the Arsenal squad for me. His age seems to be showing now and I’m fairly sure he won’t feature too much this season now that Mustafi is almost a Gooner!