Arsenal’s defence has been a problem for the Gunners for a long time now and Mikel Arteta has inherited that problem.
The Spaniard will have understood the scale of the rebuilding job that he has to do at Arsenal now with defenders letting him down on numerous occasions.
Arsenal has spent some money in the last few transfer windows to correct their problems at the back, but the story remains the same.
Ahead of the next transfer window, they have been linked with moves for several defenders, but it is unlikely that they would sign a top defender because of what it would cost them.
Sky Sports’ Alan Smith was speaking about Arsenal’s defensive problem and he admitted that the Gunners won’t be able to buy ready-made solutions to address their problems, but he claimed that they have some good players that they can build their defence on.
“I gave Holding man of the match against Southampton, and I think longer term he is someone Mikel Arteta can work with. He’s young, has a good attitude, and has the good makings of a centre-half. He used three at the back again, which seems to give him some stability, Smith said.
“Tierney is the big plus point; he’s been unlucky with injury since arriving at the club, but he strikes me as an old-school type defender, a young lad that will only get better.
“There’s obviously loads to do at Arsenal, a great deal to do, but as with any good team you have to start from the back, and that’s what Arteta will be trying to do to give them some stability in results. I think under Arteta they have shown a bit more steel and backbone at times, but it’s a long old job.
“Of course Saliba is going to arrive at the club before too long, and from what I hear, scouts at Europe’s biggest clubs can’t believe he escaped the net, they can’t believe they didn’t get him instead of Arsenal, so that bodes well. He’s been excellent for St Etienne in the [Virgil] van Dijk mold, in terms of his ability on the ball.
“I think it’s the way forward for Arsenal; they can’t buy ready-made talent, they need to nurture players and improve them on the training field, which I believe Arteta can do.
“Players with potential like Saliba, Tierney, Holding, plus Bellerin can get better, so they are the back four as well as those other characters you’ve got; Luiz, Sokratis [Papastathopoulos], [Shkodran] Mustafi, so there is something to go on there. You just want them to have a free run now, without injury problems.”