Do Arsenal really need a new centre-back?

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?



  1. Mertsacker and Gabriel are out..

    We have Kos, Chambers, Holding, Belik…. Debuchy and Monreal played in CB before but won’t try them there now.

    Get us an experienced CB.

    Holding and Belik look promising. They can play more cup games and start few epl games.

    Worst case scenario, I will loan one of holding, chambers or Belik.

    If you ask me, I think we should loan Chambers.

    1. Until there is reinforcements, we can’t afford to loan any of those young defenders out… but saying that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger goes against logic and leaves us short at the back. ? It’s not points that count, its the pounds that makes prizes at Arsenal fc.

    2. If you leave it with these AKBs, we don’t much!!!! as a matter fact we don’t need striker, we don’t need CB, or maybe we don’t need a team!!!! as long as we have a manager getting paid 8 Mil, and an owner, who likes to go to bank everyday, we don’t anybody.
      The circus is in town again, with the clown(Wenger), the main attraction!!!

      1. lol!!! anyway, jokes aside, lets say we do get an experienced CB, then that means we gonna end up with 4 experienced CB’s (Per, Kos, Gabs, New Guy) when everyone is fit. We also have 3 talented but inexperienced guys (Bielik, Calum, Holding).
        How do you intend on accommodating all that in 2 positions?

    3. Is this De Ja Vu? Maybe a time warp? Have we not already answered this ridiculously easy question?

      YES. FINALLY do you get it? Even Wenger thinks a CB is needed. At this point posing the question AGAIN is not only redundant, it is also stupid.

  2. Its always the Same old story when it comes to priorities, with wenger….. “Striker! ” God damitttt! ?

    I hear that we had a 30 million bid rejected for Mahrez and supposedly gone back with a £35 million improved offer! ?

    There’s always rumours of a 30 million bid for Bony ?
    And wenger has sent the scouts to the lower divisions looking for the new Vardy… He claims that the WC talent is there now ??

  3. We already needed a new CB before Mertesacker’s injury as he was a liability especially by the end of last season.
    It’s gonna be poor management to leave it all on Kos plus the young guys shoulders

  4. cech
    bellerin coquelin chambers monreal
    elneny xhaxa
    sanchez cazorla iwobi

    You can be sure that this is the team which will start on sunday

    1. Is Cazorla ready? I know he’s been playing in friendlies but I thought Wenger said he wasn’t ready yet. And I’d honestly rather give Akpom a chance. Walcott has no striker instinct and his finishing is woeful. Not a player most fans rate anymore.

      1. Walcott’s finishing is a much higher standard than Akpom, it’s probably Akpom’s weakest area of expertise. Akpom’s a better dribbler, but as for a strikers instinct, I haven’t seen any evidence as of yet.

  5. Holding was bought to be a reserve, chambers is a DM according to Wenger. So it should be no problem for either of the two, if a real CB was bought, Gabriel wil be the only victim. And this season is mertesackers last with the club, som might as well get his replacement in now.

    1. Wenger says he expects the three young lads to fight it out and one of them will be considered for a spot. But unless he buys, two of them at the least are almost first teamers already, for the time being anyway.

  6. Chambers needs a loan. We obviously need a new CB, even before Mertesacker got injured he needed replacing. Once Gabriel is fit again in about 2 months that’s Mustafi (pending), Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Koscielny all on squad. 5 defenders with Mert still to come back. Either Holding or Chambers won’t see much game time at all. Personally I think Chambers needs consistent gametime ASAP to have a chance to be a regular and it’s not going to happen this season with Mustafi, Kos, and Gabriel all ahead of him. And possibly Holding as well.

  7. we absolutely need an experienced CD. In Kos we have one of the best CD in the PL IMO, lets pai him with an experienced CD and we might very well have the best back 4.

    Holding and Bielik are not ready for a few more years and I don’t think Wenger rates Chambers judging by last season.

    And Mert is finished unfortunately.

  8. After all these years I finally decided to create a Twitter account yesterday, and boy this dude AFC@amden has got quite a buzz and following with his “madness” prediction.
    Lets just hope he’s not the pied piper lol.

  9. The argument that Arsenal needed a new centre back before Per got injured is not original and does not make sense. Per like any other player had his own moments of weakness last season but to allege that he is a liability is rediculous. Per brought stability and organization to our defence, thus brought the best out of our other centre backs. He would have been the best player to partner Bielik and Holding as they gain premiership experience, because these players look fantastic and the future CB partnering for Arsenal. The reason why people are skeptical about them starting straight away is their age and lack of exposure at this level, and that is sensible. Give them game time, all of sudden we are not talking about CB positions for the next ten years.

    The prices being quoted for Evans and Mustafi look over the odds after reading Budd’s analysis of Mustafi. I think its high time we consider Subotic despite his injury record. Like Per he looks to have organizing capabilities and could be the one to easy in Holding and Bielik with. What that means though is Gabriel’s future maybe up in the air.

  10. I’m not saying anything original but we needed a centre back last season and I’m not talking about Rob Holding.

    Both Gabriel and Mertesacker can’t be relied upon to partner Koscielny, they’re both prone to making costly errors – normally against Chelsea, think back to both of them stupidly getting red cards that ultimately cost us the games last season.

    Mertesacker is too slow, he’s a decent defender but at this stage of his career he should be a 4th choice centre back for a side supposedly challenging for top honours.

    Gabriel is quicker and more aggressive but the guy just switches off too often.

    No, we need a top quality centre back to partner Koscielny because to be honest Koscielny’s injury record isn’t that great either (he’s missed 22 games in the last 2 seasons), so we need at least 2 top players for that position to cope with the inevitable injuries/suspensions/fatigue. I also think Koscielny will benefit from an experienced player next to him as he will need to be spending more time keeping an eye on one of the youngsters.

    Chambers, Holding and Bielik are not ready for prolonged spells at centre back, one or two games partnering Koscielny would be OK (depending on the opponent) but we could in theory find ourselves playing catchup with the top sides after a couple of weeks if things go wrong against Liverpool and Leicester.

    1. So in view Gab and Per cannot be relied upon because of the two games against Chelsea last season? What role did Koscielney play in the Per red card against Chelsea? Was he not the one who initially played Costa onside? Why did he not drop back to become the last man to save Per from a red card? Was Koscielney not the one who again played Kane onside at home against Tottenham? Why are you not reproaching him for that the same way you are doing Per and Gab. Facts for 2015/16 show that Arsenal conceded a goal more than the best defensive teams in the league. Arsenal had the highest number of clean sheets. In addition 37% of goals conceded came in 11% of games indicating that the team was not consistently shipping in goals.

      This idea of thinking that players from outside are the bestfinds no support in reality. Despite their price tags and rave reviews, Mangala and Otamendi did not light the league, and so was Vertonghen in his first two seasons. others like Sissoko were hit and miss kind of players. A player, especially at CB would need time to adjust to his partner and the team’s all round play. It is because of this that you will never find a CB who will be a significant upgrade over Per in that player’s first season.

      In terms of succession planning Holding and Bielik are the future CBs. From what I have seen from them they need game time and they will be good to go. Obviously it will be risky to partner them because of their lack if experience and young age. This season will see them get that and the future is sorted.

      1. I gave the Chelsea games as examples of Mertesacker and Gabriel’s shortcomings because I hate Chelsea and those games stick in my mind.

        You can throw all the stats about how many clean sheets or how few goals we conceded last season but I prefer to use my eyes when judging a player. The fact that we didn’t concede more goals is either down to luck, poor finishing, good defensive cover or good goalkeeping.

        Mertesacker is 31 years or age and in his last year of contract, while Gabriel has not settled that well to English football.

        Add to that Koscielny is 30 years old (31 next month) and will sadly start to decline in the next 2-3 seasons, we need a top quality experienced centre back now.

        I genuinely hope that our promising youngsters make the grade, I’d love nothing more than seeing Holding, Chambers and Bielik as future Arsenal centre backs, rather than them becoming just another Matthew Upson, Ignasi Miquel or Isaac Hayden to name just a few of the promising players that didn’t make it.

        In terms of an upgrade for Mertesacker, as he’s injured till the new year a coat stand would be an upgrade till he’s fit!! Just think back to Koscielny and Vermaelen when they signed for us, both had excellent first seasons.

        Also, while I hate to say it, look at Toby Alderweireld as an example of a player who was excellent in his first season, so “never” being able to find a significant upgrade to Mertesacker in that player’s first season can be done, if you sign the right player.

        Out of interest are you suggesting that we don’t sign a centre back and just hope we make it to the new year in touch with the top sides?

        If so I have to ask, are you Arsene Wenger in disguise?

        1. You are now spitting random crap to say koscielny had a great first season, took the the guy atleast 2 seasons to find his feet. Yes we need a cb but if we don’t sign one I don’t think we are gonna be in the relegation zone or something like that as most people are suggesting. John stones is 22 and he had one decent season in Epl and last season was atrocious but all of sudden he’s a £50m player. How big is the gap between him, Rob holding and chambers?

  11. I hope Wenger isn’t thinking we’ll see how the first few games go, maybe the youngsters will surprise. It’s a long season, no need to be taking unnecessary chances. We can’t be thinking what if we block players path, competition is key to all great sides. And besides, Mert and Kos aren’t getting any younger. Also Gabriel worries me, he looked awful again against city.

  12. the magic phrase…’when everyone is fit’, when will that ever happen, last season we only had kos and merts fit at the same time for 3 games, our injury record is one of the worst in the premiership, and our players never come back when they are planning to..

    we need an experienced CB desperately !!

  13. I say we need another Koscielny as a CB … for when Koscielny is injured, so he can partner Koscielny and when Koscielny is suspended. We need a Koscielny in defence at all times to compensate for the inadequacies of any partnering CB.

    In big games with two Koscielnys in central defence alongside Bellerin, Cech and Monreal, plus Xhaka covering them and even Elneny partnering him – that is a closed shop and when we nick a goal lead in a cup game we’re going into the next round.

    Mustafi is another Koscielny, Gabriel is a good solid CB who can play with either of them.

    Holding and Chambers are kids. We are a top side with top serious players who don’t want their battling displays be for nothing. Go look at that 4 goals of Arshavin at the Kop to understand this.

    We will lose points or lose cup games taking risks with kids when we don’t have to and no top team with the funds we have should be.

    This is my opinion.

    I think you make a great point about Chamber’s continued development and that of Holding, I want this to happen but not as a risk to our season. If Coquelin can adapt to CB then the youngsters can get some solid game time on loan in the Premiership. When Gabriel returns they’ll just be waiting around … although Calum is cover for Bellerin too.

    Holding and Chambers need developing for England too, so there is that, especially after seeing us against Iceland.

    But I definitely want Mustafi bought, not just because of his ability but also because he is a German international – and you have to be very fit and able to get that role in International tournaments. The German National team is built from fitness upwards.

    I want another top winger too for when Walcott puts his feet up on the coffee table at home for the rest of the season. The 20+ goals with Sanchez’s 20+ goals will be good for the season, as will the increased number of quality crosses to the striker. Speaking of which, it was good seeing Ozil in the Euros doing well in a forward role. A striker being bought will be cool but not essential if we get a decent winger. I like Welbeck but will he stay fit? As for Walcott, I still want him gone like I have for the past few seasons.

    Mustafi, Mahrez or Draxler for the wing and possibly Griezman or Lewandowski for upfront would be ideal … but we have a manager whose ambition is to build a 700 million unspent transfer fund as a personal project.

  14. I still can’t believe AW couldn’t buy a £12m very experienced CB that would have helped our young £16m CB who is not ready yet, whilst the Boss is picking up his fitness. Is AW even thinking about the quality of the players we going to face? Hope the boys cope with the pressure of what’s coming.

    1. Remember the home game against Leicester? Chambers looked more than ready for me and I remember most ppl in here saying he should replace per but now he’s not?? Isn’t dier about the same age? He given game time and improving game by game and I don’t believe he’s any more talented than chambers and spurs had a better challenge than we did so yeah I think we can manage with what we’ve got for now

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