Stay or Go: my verdict on every defender on Arsenal’s books now

Arsenal has struggled at the back for a long time now and this season hasn’t been different.

Mikel Arteta has made the team a better defending unit, but defenders are paid to defend and I think there are some defenders on our books now that simply cannot defend and they should be sold.

Hector Bellerin – Go
Bellerin has been one of the best full-backs in Europe at some point, and he remains one of the best in England.
However, he has struggled with injuries recently, and he may never recapture his best form. Selling him now is best because it would give us the chance to earn a good transfer fee.

Kieran Tierney – STAY
Tierney has been a breath of fresh air in the Arsenal defence even though he hasn’t played one full season for us. He is already one of our best defenders and should definitely stay.

Sokratis – GO
The Greek defender has done a good job in terms of being reliable during his time at Arsenal. But he cannot get into Mikel Arteta’s team now, I doubt he has a long term future at the Emirates.

Rob Holding – STAY
Injuries have disrupted Holding’s time at the Emirates, but when he has been fit, it is quite easy to see that the Englishman can become our defence leader. He still has a big future ahead of him.

Cedric Soares- STAY
Soares has just been given a new deal and the Portuguese full-back hasn’t exactly put a foot wrong while playing for us so far. If he remains that consistent, then we would not miss Hector Bellerin.

Shkodran Mustafi – GO
To his credit, Mustafi has become a better defender since Mikel Arteta became our new manager. But it is a little too late for him at the Emirates, and I think the best thing for all parties is for him to leave.

Calum Chambers – STAY
Chambers has been struggling to establish himself as a regular at Arsenal for years now. When Arteta became our manager, he showed his class and I think that the Englishman can blossom under the Spaniard.

Pablo Mari – STAY
Mari has just been offered a new deal to stay with us for the next four years. On the evidence of his early showings for us, he is the real deal and can be one of the core defenders for years to come.

David Luiz – GO
Unfortunately, we will have to deal with David Luiz for another season, but the Brazilian isn’t good enough for us.

Sead Kolasinac – GO
Kolasinac has never really made a name for himself at the Emirates, and now that we have Kieran Tierney, I think that it is about time for us to cash in on him this summer.

An article from Ime

Tags defenders


  1. Bellerin is captain material. He loves the club and is a good player coming back from injury. We want to build a culture where the players love the name on front of the shirt and not the back and Hector is that. He is also a good lad to have around the squad.
    Replacing him would cost heaps so why bother.
    Cedric has only played a couple of games so we cant say he is anywhere near the level Bellerin is. If you do an ACL it takes 2 years to get back to your best.
    Ideally you would get rid of Kolsaniac, Mavrapanos, Mustafi and get another quality left footed CB. Send Holding on loan to get more game time and build confidence after his injury
    Although Luiz makes mistakes he has the experience for one more year be it in the CB of a 3 or a squad player. May need a young backup LB if Saka starts playing more as a winger.

    1. Sorry, I have to disagree; Bellerin has lost interest and not prepared to be fully committed to professional football. He should be sold to pursue his modelling career. As far as captain material at Arsenal, Bellerin is not fit to captain a row boat.

  2. I came into this expecting to disagree on a few players, but I was surprised to find that I agreed with pretty much everything you said.

    Whether that makes us both right or wrong, time will tell…

    1. I won’t comment as to the merits of the players mentioned, other than to say, that in my view only Tierney can be described as top quality.I hope Saliba will also fall into that category.

  3. Agree with some but disagree with most. Papa is going whatever anyone thinks as he has already said he wont stay for the money to sit on the bench, i like him even more for that statement but agree he is leaving but on his own terms. Musti, well the guy is playing out of his skin and improved so much under Arteta and he plays for the badge and didn’t crumble under the scrutiny he has endured so imo deserves another season. Luiz? the guy brings so much experience and also has improved forgetting the Man City nightmare and the other odd crazy moments but all things considered apparently we hear he is a voice in the dressing room and took a wage cut to allow other players be bought so for me another year to help our other young defenders is a benefit because they love him and he is trying. Bellerin?? He is a stalwart of Arsenal and clearly loves wearing the shirt and has an affinity with the Club and cares. He has had a few lingering injuries the last few seasons which could be put down to being over played and being played carrying an injury. He signed a 6 year contract 3 years ago and would happily do so again and now with Arteta at the helm i expect to see him improve so much with an injury free season. To lose him just to get cash in would be a mistake. He is on the boat. Holding and Chambers i would like to see remain because not only are they English, they obviously love the club and dont cause drama and are determined and talented as is Bellerin, they keep our numbers up on having our homegrown quota up although we dont really have to worry about that what with all our talented youngsters coming through but all the same they all deserve a year with Arteta. What with Saliba coming in and i dont really believe all the hype that he will just walk in the team next season. Whats wrong with us doing a chelsea or man city and loan out Holding and Chambers to Germany for a season and then Luiz will be gone after that and im sure Musti will go for a handsome amount of cash and then maybe one of Holding or Chambers may go after that also and bring in some cash. Soares is a short term thing imo to help out Bellers, Tierney is unsellable and our new ashley Cole and Mari is Luiz replacement after next season. Maybe ive had a few beers too many with thoughts on Sunday already so im sorry if this seems a ramble but this is a considered post so be kind!!

    1. i forgot about Kolasinac, we got him for nothing and hasn’t really improved from being a decent fiery lefty with us and not really seen anything different from him throughout 3 managers now so happy to see him go although he is on big wages which wasn’t his fault but it does means we can sweeten the deal if we sell him, but then does that mean Saka is stuck as a left back for another season? Im sure Saka was told he will play attacking when signing dat ting. Food for thought guys but wow were not seeing a team of misfits anymore except for the usual suspects and some of them have been found guilty. Arteta is the Judge and Jury now make no mistake!

  4. I agree with the exception of Bellerin. He is returning from a major injury and still has a place in the team/squad as it vital that we have cover and competition for every starting position.

  5. Chambers stay you must be kidding, he’s been here long enough and is yet to establish a place

    1. Chambers may not be top quality, but unlike all our other CB’s, he hardly ever gets a decent run in the team. Even after all these years, I’m still not sure how good or bad he could be for us. I think the writer would probably keep more as backup I would imagine, as would I. I agree with all what he said actually.

  6. Mustafi should be given credit for the application he has shown to knuckle down and improve performances.

  7. I’m undecided on CC and HB, but agree with all of the others… and you’re quite right – what a breath of fresh air KT has been!

  8. I can’t figure out why you discuss what has been sealed. David Luiz just signed an extension a few weeks ago and got his fate sealed. One more year and he’ll go. Why waste time on that?
    On Mustafi, I don’t agree with you at all. Arteta gave a clean slate to everyone as he didn’t want to judge them on history. Since then, Mustafi has been arguably our best centre half. His misgivings came probably as a result of bad coaching by Arsene Wenger who we all know wasn’t the best at organising defenses, and Unai Emery. On what grounds then would you recommend his sale?
    About Kolasinac going, well, every position must have two players. Selling him would leave the team thin in that position especially as Saka is undergoing a transition into an attacking midfielder. I don’t see him playing left back again unless injuries warrant it. On Bellerin I agree. I think he’ll never return to the player he once was. Selling him would be best for parties involved

  9. Since Arteta arrived and gave everyone a clean slate, Mustafi has been our best defender by a mile. I would even give him a new contract. And I would equally keep Bellerin. Remember just like Holding, he is coming back from a nasty injury. He is equally approaching his prime. With better coaching, he could be world class in a few years.

  10. Bellerin is a top player, that’s why top clubs are chasing him. No one was good enough as RB this season when Bellerin was out, Chambers, Niles liked then killed here.

    When you have a lazy Pepe, this all wing losesbalance RB ends up with 2 men.

    He just got back, gaining form, will show you wrong which is a good thing and not a surprise for Arsenal.

    Juve City Bayern are all looking at him…He will win a title.

    Then we do not need a ghost named Mari, but a a beast named Koulibaly.

  11. No Arsenal defender at the moment is contributing what Mustafi is giving to the team. Let’s look at the present and forget the past. Its the only way forward.

    1. Marlang Sarr of Nice is a free agent and will come for free.
      He plays on the Left side of CB and can also play LB.

      We should sell Mustafi now and get Marlang Sarr on board. At just 21yrs with monster pace and good passing skill, he comes factory made for possession football Arteta wants to implement at Arsenal.
      His other inadequacies can be ironed out with time as he is still very young? And what could go wrong? He is a free agent, we can sell him on for a tidy sum later if he doesn’t work out.

      Kolasinac has no place in Arsenal.
      One of Chambers or Holding should go. They are too injury prone and we seem to have too many injury prone players in the squad. Every title winning team always have a core group of members who are not injury prone and can play at least 33 league matches per season. Chambers and Holding will never offer you that.

      I’d say we keep Bellerin and let Cedric push him. His problem was lack of competition. He got too cozy and stagnated. In Cedric he has real competition on his hands. Offer him a new fair contract, every team needs a soul. Bellerin is our academy product and have loyalty towards Arsenal, he shouldn’t be sold unless he refuses to renew.

      Here is my verdict on our defenders :

      Luiz- Already renewed, so keep till contract runs out. Would help in mentoring the younger defenders like Saliba- KEEP

      Mari – Left sided CB, already renewed but his pace is suspect, very reminiscent of Mertesacker. KEEP

      Mustafi- Much improved under Arteta, arguably our best defender since restart, yet always seem to be a second away from another blunder. Now will be a good time to get a tidy sum from his sale. SELL

      Sokratis – Old and has no place any more in this team. SELL

      Kolasinac – More of a wrestler than a footballer. Poor footwork, poor crosses , cannot switch play, can not pass to save his life, very clumsy footballer. SELL ASAP

      Cedric Soares – Good old fashioned defender, exactly the competition Bellerin needs. KEEP

      Holding/Chambers- Injury prone . Sell one of them.

  12. What exactly do you mean by Bellerin will never get back to what he was? Against Leicester, he was one of our major attacking outlets. Some of our most beautiful football involved him. You gave Cedric less than 90 minutes to be rated better than Cedric, that doesnt go the other way?

  13. Spot on … would add xhaka who purports to be a DM but is nothing of the sort .. we have saliba coming in so i dont see the need for another CB we desperately need to strengthen the midfield now and if auba and lacazette stay with pepe martinelli and saka we should have enought attacking options so nelson and willock can also go

  14. My worthless 2 cents as always.


    Malang Sarr—young, athletic, pacy
    and technically proficient. Most
    critically for Arsenal FREE 😁

    Saliba—Future WC CB


    Bellerin—unless one of the
    interested clubs are willing to part
    with silly money or propose a swap
    deal that intrigues MA.

    Luiz—just extended his stay and
    had been playing some of his best
    futbol recently. A father figure of
    a player both on and off the pitch.

    Mustafi—unless some European
    club is willing to spend north of
    $20M the German should be
    given an extension and continue
    to be one of the 1st names on the
    Arsenal team sheet. He had been
    one of the clubs BEST PLAYERS
    since the resart.

    Mari—should continue to feature
    in Cup games and spell Mustafi
    against lower oppositions @ the
    Emirates next season.


    Socrates—doesnt seem to be in
    MA’s plans going forward and to
    the Greeks credit doesnt seem
    content with spending time on
    the bench during the last few
    years of his playing career.

    Kola—replaced by Sarr

    Chambers—Ive always rated the
    Englishmen and commend him
    for his perseverance during a
    dufficult time @ the Emirates
    but sadly CC is just far to injury
    prone to be seriously counted on
    to be in the CB rotation for next


    Holding–needs another season on
    loan to show hes able to physically
    make it through a season. Much
    like CC his time on the treatment
    table, although unfortunate has
    dominated his short spell @ the

    Mavro—see Holding.

  15. About Mari: “On the evidence of his early showings for us, he is the real deal and can be one of the core defenders for years to come.”

    The above statement leaves me confused. What has he actually shown to deserve such optimism? At best I would say the jury is out on him.

  16. KEEP in this order:
    1. Mavropanos – The kind of defender that’s first on my team sheet. Height, active, passing,great defensively and comfort on the ball

    2. Mari – height, comfort on ball and passing

    3. Tierney – great all round

    4. Kolasinac – very great defender

    5. Luiz – good but very slow on the ball

    6. Saliba – not great but acceptable (bench material)

    7. Holding – bench material

    LEAVE in this order:
    1. Bellerin – not good at all, just the every year hype

    2. Chambers – championship level

    3. Mustafi – great at defending but too short for a defender and passing is at championship level

    4. Sokratis – the only one that can make it to Keep group

    1. How do you know that Saliba is ‘ not great but bench material ‘… you haven’t seen him play for us yet !! Blimey, give the bloke a chance .. .

  17. I’d sell Sokratis (no explaining needed), Mavrapanos (only with buy-back and sell-on clause so he gets the time to develop elsewhere) and Kolasinac (can’t defend at all, very poor on the ball). Even though Mustafi has been enjoying a somewhat decent run under Arteta, he is still not the level needed if we want to move forward. Anyone who cant be trusted in a back 4 needs to go. So sell Mustafi. David Luiz is same example as Mustafi, but just extended and is a leader with experience, so he can stay for 1 more year.

    I would give Holding and Bellerin 1 more year to prove that they can recover from their injury. If they are good enough, keep, if not, sell. Same goes for Chambers, but he is good back up as he can also operate as a right back or even in midfield. He is injured anyway so wont be able to sell anyway.

    That leaves Tierney (our best defender), Mari and Cedric (just bought) and Saliba (best prospect).

    I would add at least 1 left footed cb. Ake, Inigo are some of the options. Sarr is free but I’m not convinced. Is stilll young and free so might be worth trying. When I saw him play last year, he was caught out of position lots of time. He was playing as a left back when I saw him play. Also a replacement for Kolasinac is needed. Tagliafico my favoured option, but will probably be too expensive, especially for a back up option.

    I would like Arsenal to go back to looking for rough diamonds, like we used to do before. Salisu and Disasi are 2 options that are cheap and I would like Arsenal to get them. But with our budget, dont think we can take these “risks”.

    In the dutch league we have this guy called Van Hecke. He plays for Nac Breda. He is 1 of the country’s most talented defender and is currently in negotiations with Monaco for €2.25m. I would love to get him and loan him for the coming 2 or 3 years. With a bit of luck he turns into a good defender, otherwise we will be able sell him for some good profit. Let me know what you guys think

  18. Anyone noticed how Bellerin played the last match when he saw how Cedric performed the match before?

    For me, if we get a good offer for any of the following defenders then we should sell!

    1-Bellerin: if Barca still considering then they will pay some good money I guess.

    2-Luiz: I don’t trust him anymore and he won’t be the kind which you can rely on in big games.

    3-Sokrates: injuries and improved to some extent, yet, we should give him a chance instead of keeping our youngster playing.

    4-Kolasinac: although he is getting better defensively, yet he is making so many mistakes in passing and he is losing the ball continuously.

    I would keep Mustafi who improved a lot under MA and doing well when he is playing next to a better CB or the same level as Holding.

    Holding is still young and can improve even more under MA guidance, we need someone like him for the future, he should only focus on himself not to be injured anytime soon.

    Mari is the replacement of Kolasinac is MA formation.

    Chambers: can play in many positions, we can use him as a replacement for Bellerin “if he is not staying” and in the Mid.

    I guess Cedric, Tierney, Saliba, Holding, Mari, and Mustafi will be good defenders if they keep playing next to each other in the future.

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