How to fix the Arsenal defence in the summer transfer window

The Arsenal defence has rightfully come in for a mass of criticism this season culminating in three end of season games where we conceded three goals in each game losing all three.

It is clear that an overhaul is well due, however, we do need some perspective, two of our top defenders Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding have been sidelined for a long period and I am absolutely certain they would have made a difference.

Konstantinos Mavropanos is a work in progress but showed me enough in the few glimpses I saw of him this season to believe he could easily play a major role in the next campaign, so in Bellerin, Holding and Mavropanos we have three young defenders that could easily be the core for years to come, all they need is a bit of experienced back-up to help them along.

Stephan Lichtsteiner is leaving, Nacho Monreal is past it and Sokratis Papastathopoulos is just not good enough, so in terms of experience that leaves Laurent Koscielny and he is getting on a bit now ,and so a new experienced defender is desperately sought, probably two.

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Shkodran Mustafi has lost the confidence of the fans and may well be sold but I would personally give him one more season, he has got better when others have gone backwards, though when I say better I mean in just the last two games. Obviously, he has had a bad season but I am convinced he is better than what we have seen.

Sead Kolasinac is inconsistent but that could easily be rectified and another season with us could see him come on leaps and bounds.

Finally, we have Carl Jenkinson and Calum Chambers and at best they will be squad players, though if Unai Emery did put some confidence in either who knows what we could get in return.

So, in conclusion, I believe we need to offload Lichtsteiner, Monreal, Sokratis and Koscielny, sign two new experienced defenders, give Mustafi and Kolasinac another season, give a chance to Jenkinson and Chambers and build the defence around the young trio of Holding, Bellerin and Mavropanos.

We would need at least a new left back and possibly another central defender slash right back with the criteria being that they would need to be experienced because the highest age of Holding, Bellerin and Mavropanos is just 24.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is not included even though he can play at right-back, because I see him much more as a midfielder and will include him in my analysis of our midfielders.

Updated: May 7, 2019 — 7:34 am

44 Comments

  1. What?! Give mustafi another season? NO WAY!
    If we are a serious team, we’d sell Kolasinac too, terrible player who can’t defend and most of the time doesn’t want to. I can see the club bottling these major decisions and will keep rubbish players because of our cheapness.

    Those that introduced and sold their shares to Kroenke killed this club, because the only way to sort out this team is to spend money and buy the right players which won’t happen. If mustafi is here next season, then all hell must break loose from the fans. That will be blatant cheating of arsenal fans world wide.

    1. You got it wrong on Mustafi. He must go. If any one is to be kept in that backline then it is sokratis. His legs can still carry him better than koscielny and has experience. All he needs is discipline and never to stray across the centre line at any attacking moment!

      1. Why not bring Gary Cahill who is available on a free for the season i know he is 33 but he has experience and would help develop our young lads he would be 100% better than Mustafi.

    2. Lol yes Lupe I agree with you Mustafi,kolasinac, definitely have to go,and wats did about holding, mavropanos,Chambers, and jenkinsons being our back 4 or squad players ? That guy who wrote dis article is probably not an arsenal supporter if we play those defender’s next season den I’m afraid we could be relegated dats how bad they are

  2. I’d certainly sign four of these eight in defence: Maguire (50m), Tarkowski (20m), Mee (20m), Dunk (20m), Duffy (20m), Bertrand (20m), Chillwell (30m), Djene (20m); sell Mustafi (17m), Monreal (13m). In Midfield, i’d sell Xhaka (20m), Elneny (12m), Iwobi (18m), Ozil (20m) and Sign Andre Gomez (25m), Tielemans (40m), Fraser (30m) and Duocore (30m)
    So, defense needs 130m to fix
    Midfield requires 70m to fix
    total outgoing defense (30m); midfield 70m
    So arsenal needs a total of 110m from the club accounts

    1. 👍👍

    2. No one will pay 18 million for Iwobi or 13 million for Monreal. Arsenal will not get 12 million for Elneny, he’s played about 200 minutes all year. Mustafi might bring 17 million. Ozil is not going anywhere, he makes 350,000 per week, guaranteed. Emery likes Xhaka, though he’d bring in a lot more than 20 million if sold.

      So, of the players you mention, the real incoming from sales is more like 41 million;
      Iwobi – 10 million
      Monreal – 8 million
      Elneny – 6 million
      Mustafi – 17 million

      41 million will not come close to replacing Aaron Ramsey’s goals and assists.
      Oddly enough the players cited; Maguire, Mee, Dunk, Chilwell, Duffy, Bertrand, Djene, Gomez, Tielmens, Fraser, and Duocore – all play for teams that are much, much worse than Arsenal. If you bring in those players you will end up where their teams ended up; midtable or lower.

      It is also odd that, with Arsenal looking like they will be 5th or 6th, Unai Emery is seen as having done a good job; while the same finish ended with Arsene Wenger forced out of the club.

      I do not think Arsenal should fire Emery, but I would say that this season’s result is more evidence that in football, over time, quality finds its level. If Arsenal want to compete for titles they have to buy players who can win them. Not one of the players on your list is an established, first-team player on a club in the top six of its league. While some of those players could fill a squad role on a team like Arsenal, they are not good enough to lift Arsenal higher, but would just drag them backwards.

      Here is a starting XI that could compete for a top 3 finish. The players alone will cost 327 million. Wages would also increase. If Arsenal want to play with the big boys, they have to compete with them for players. Manchester United are reportedly planning to spend 250 million to get back in the top four. Chelsea will retool this summer, and Manchester City will buy one or two top players.

      Tottenham have missed their chance. They’ll lose Eriksen and Alderweireld this summer and with a tradition of being even more cost conscious in the transfer market than Arsenal, will battle to be in the top four. Arsenal have an opportunity to bring St. Totterinham’s Day back, but not by bringing in players from the bargain basement sale bin.

      GK – Jan Oblak (80 million) Reserve – Leno

      Defensive four:
      RB Bellerin – CB Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli – 80 million) CB Toby Alderweield (Tottenham – Free Transfer)
      Reserves: Holding, Chambers, Kolasinac, Mustafi, Lukas Klosterman (Leipzig – 27 million)

      CM:
      Torreira, Adrien Rabiot (PSG, Free Transfer)
      Reserves (Declan Rice (West Ham – 35 million) Chambers, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Maitland-Nles)

      AM
      (L) Aubameyang (C) Mesut Ozil) (R) Nicolas Pepe (Lille – 70 million)
      Reserves: Iwobi, Juan Mata (Manchester United – Free Transfer) Maitland-Niles

      CF
      Alexander Lacazette
      Reserves” Aubameyang, Nkeitah, Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool – Free Transfer)

      1. you are completely out of touch with reality man,this is not fifa!!

    3. who in fs name would pay 18m for iwobi 12m for elneny and 13m for monreal … get real … if we got 25m for all of em it would be a miracle…

    4. Chilcott is only one can play for Arsenal among those English core all those CB you just mentioned I am afraid Arsenal will be relegated

  3. players to offload (if possible)…
    lichsteiner
    mustafi
    monreal
    xhaka
    elneny
    mikhi

    1. Swap Monreal with Jenkinson and that list happening would be a dream come true for me!

  4. Keep mustafi
    Jenkinson and Chambers squad players
    Kolasinac to come good
    Do you intend to see arsenal fight relegation battle?
    Imagine when we are forced by injuries to field a back four of:
    Jenkinson-Mustafi-Chambers-Kolasinac?

    1. 😂😂👍👍

  5. Simple, give our youngsters a chance. Recoup as much money from our first-team failures as possible, if we can’t, then ensure that the first-team positions of those players are not secure. All the teams around us that don’t have money to splash on transfers are doing this…
    Whoever we bring to the club is wishful thinking at the moment. Even with Chelsea not competing for signings you can’t speculate.
    It’s important also to keep our youngsters grounded by not pay-rising them the moment they have 10 good games. Only a consistent Full Season in the first team justifies that.

  6. Chambers, Mustafi and Jenkinson all need shown the exit door ASAP this is why Arsenal are where they are, hanging onto mediocre players on big wages! Carl Jenkinson is absolute rubbish, a championship player at best and the other 2 aren’t far behind him! If we had any ambition (which we clearly don’t) we would scrap every one of them and rebuild that entire backline! Keep Bellerin and Holding but the rest id be delighted if they were moved on! We are so far off the beaten track its scary! That Arsenal team is the worst I’ve seen in a long time and the future looks bleak with that miserable tight-fisted old git Kroenke!

  7. There is a strong rumour that Barcelona are apparently about to offer £75 million for Alexandre Lacazette, due to them passing on Griessmann. They are looking for a replacement for the aging Suarez. If Barcelona come calling, who can say no.
    Knowing the Arsenal board they would grab the money with both hands, as the Club has a record of seling their best players.
    If the money was reinvested, together with remuneration from other sales plus the transfer allocation, it could allow Arsenal to satisfy some of the following needs; wingers, commanding tall CB’s, an authoritive DM, a replacement CAM for Ramsey and a LB replacement for Monreal.
    Then again it could go to Kroenke to pay off his debt to the banks for the purchase of Usmanov’s shares.

    1. 👍👍

    2. @Ozziegunner
      Is Lacazette really Barcelona quality? With an average of about 14 goals a season I don’t see why they would be keen on him. Even Pogba has as many goals as him this season. If Barca want a striker I believe they would go for someone like Harry Kane who hits 20 and even 30 league goals a season. Am not dismissing the rumour, I just think it’s unlikely.

      1. QD, as Greissmann is the player who keeps Lacazette out of the French national team, Barcelona see Lacazette as a like for like player. They are probably interested in his all round play, pressing and holding up the ball to play others in. Kane is more an out and out striker and would cost more from Tottenham. As we know they have taken players from Arsenal in the past.

  8. If you speak to someone like Midkimma on here, you’ll know it’s definitely not the players that need to go, but the manager. Under Wenger it was the players, but even though it’s still 95% Wenger’s squad under Emery, it’s now Emery that is the problem. Despite finishing 5th and 6th in the previous two seasons, Emery should 100% of got us into the top 4…even with all the injuries! Apparently injuries to your best players should make no difference at all.

    So I agree with Midkimma. Let’s sack the manager, and now see if a THIRD manager can do something with this wonderful, underachieving squad of ours!

    1. So tell me was this 95%wengers squad when we went 22 games unbeaten or it’s only 95%wengers squad now we haven’t made 4th place ?
      And emery as signed 6players this season so a percentage of a squad would be about 76%wengers ,but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good post .
      Surprised you haven’t blamed ozils wages on Arsenal’s defensive problems aswell .

    2. @ThirdManJW
      The reasoning is, we can’t overhaul the entire squad every time we change a manager. Emery has got to work with what is available and improve it. These supposedly injured best players we have missed, Holding and Bellerin, were nothing spectacular before and in particular Bellerin, was nothing short of shambolic in his defending. More so, we never allowed Wenger that injury excuse, so we must be fair and deny the same to Emery. All that said, I’m gonna cop out and admit I don’t know what should be done about Emery. If he gets Europa, definitely we should keep him. If he doesn’t, keep him, fire him..it’s all fine by me.

      1. As I have stated before this squad has under performed and let down Wenger and Emery; two well credentialled and well respected managers. How many managers do Arsenal have to turnover before the realization that this squad cannot achieve more without major investment and a turnover of the aging and under performing players?
        By the way Arsenal has some really talented prospects in the U18’s and UU23’s. The old saying applies; “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”

  9. Is there a miracle available to buy???

  10. – Holding is okay when he stays fully focused and doesn’t try to play first-time passes. Time will tell how he returns from his injury…
    – Mavropanos has the potential, so should be given a full season as a starter as well to get more confidence.
    – Chambers and Jenkinson, though, useless. Unless Chambers replaces Elneny as a back-up defensive midfielder. That might be a good idea as he’s a home-grown player (we’re losing another 2 in Ramsey and Welbeck, don’t forget).
    – Kolasinac should be given another year unless we get a decent offer for him.
    – Monreal and Koscielny – good to provide back-up until their contracts expire
    – Mustafi has to be replaced with a better option – at least we can get some money for him due to his age
    – Lichtsteiner has to be replaced with a young RB to be the understudy to Bellerin

  11. Kolasinac needs to be binned off with Lichtsteiner.
    Lich is past it and reverts to fouling like Sokratis, when he’s beaten for pace. Kola can’t defend and slows down our attack when going forward. Ok, he makes the occasional decent cut back into the box, otherwise he’s constantly getting close to the byline and passing backwards. I can’t see the club selling Sokratis or Mustafi but if they are to be kept as back ups we need another centre half. Get shot of Xhaka and Elneny, bring back Chambers, give youth a chance with some pace in midfield and that’s it.
    I think Emery will be given another year but hopefully soon we’ll have a new DoF and if Emery fails next year, he will be replaced. We’ve had enough of mediocrity and piss awful football to watch. #timeforchange.

    1. I think so too, Emery will probably be here next season. Will he finish it though? Wenger was sacked halfway into the 2nd season without champions league.

  12. It’s not the players, it’s their coach who is the problem. GET RID OF STEVE BOULD. Arsenal has had the worst defence in league for years now. How that man saved his job after Wenger finally left is mind boggling.
    Can no one else see it?
    The guy must have some files on the board or something….

  13. Unload the 7 that keep being rumored as going, but deadwood culling is not enough.

    In addition, sell one or two “surprise” additions that in replacing will at least begin to change the “old mentality” and bring a much needed shake up about.

    I am so fed up with the same short comings year, on year, on year, on year !

    After calming down a little since the Brighton game, I am still of the same opinion.

    Dunk & Duffy doesn’t sound like the “Arsenal fit” but for me instantly improves us in more ways than one.

    This is a view I’ve held way before the Brighton debacle of the weekend.

    Maddison as the Ramsey replacement . Keep Leno, Torreira, Abua & Lacca (plus Guendouzi) and for me (with the above additons) our spine (both physically & mentality) is much stronger.

    We can then take a view of “filling out” around the above spine with a mix of existing and new , and go forward a much stronger more hard nosed stoic outfit.

    The “golden era” of the invincibles has gone.

    Let’s get back to basics, and at least start by being feared domestically again and take it from there.

    However unpleasant, I have come to terms with the fact Europa league is our level right now.

    Let’s rebuild not only by ability but mental fortitude also, and come again.

    Too many around the club ACT “We Are The Arsenal” we have to SHOW it every time we cross the whitewash !

    The shirt simply weighs too heavy for too many of the current squad.

    But let’s remember, we all have our “wish list” of players we’d bring in.

    Unless the DESIRE is there to achieve for this great football club…… forget it !

  14. normally I am with you with your comments. but today, I am sorry, but I completely disagree. I don’t see any reason to start Mustafi once again for a club like Arsenal. ever!
    the only good defender we have is Koscielny. the only one! OK, Bellerin and Monreal aren’t bad either. But please get rid of Jenkinson, Chambers, Holding, Mavropanos and of course Mustafi!! They are maximum Championship level.

  15. Most transfer rumours are focussed on the attacking players, and whilst Arsenal do need to do some work there, they must sort out the defence this summer. For me, one of the most impressive things that Emery has managed is to get Arsenal that high up the table, with the defence performing that badly, but it cant go on like this. Whether you blame injuries, tactics, training, Bould, Emery, Kroenke or something else, some of the players are simply not good enough. Some of the mistakes being made are things that no experienced player should be doing. They shouldnt need telling not to do them.

    So, I would start with at least one new experienced centre back who can lead the defence, (ideally in the 25 to 30 years old range so they can continue to provide leadership for Holding, Bellerin and Mavropanos for a few years,) Koscielny can do that, but he cant play two/three matches a week any more and theres rumours he (and Monreal) may leave this summer anyway. Who Arsenal should bring in I dont know, but I suspect that there are several players in the other premier league teams who could do the job and might consider the move, without costing a fortune.
    They wont be players that make everyone cheer, but lets face it our defence is so poor that simply improving it is more important at the moment.
    If Monreal goes then we obviously need a replacement, but I feel that with a strong central deence that this could easily be someone talented but younger, hopefully more defence minded than Kolasinac.
    Im sorry to say that I simply dont trust Mustafi anymore, despite his promising start at Arsenal the mistakes are just too many and too frequent. The inability to trust our defence affects the confidence of the team as a whole, so he has to go. I would sell him, even at a loss and keep Sokratis for now, but tell him to stop getting so many yellow cards, and if he cant, then move him on next year, January or summer.
    I would also keep Jenkinson for one more season, mainly because whilst he may not be very good, he is committed and replacing him with someone better would cost more than Arsenal can really afford out of the limited transfer budget this summer, his salary is low and I dont see us getting much for him if we do sell him. Likewise I would keep Chambers but perhaps not in defence. He has apparently performed well as a defensive midfielder for Fulham thus year, so keep him as a replacement for Elneny.
    Likewise I would keep Martinez as back up goalkeeper and play him in cups etc. If he doesnt work out then look for someone else in January next summer.
    I dont know how good our youth team defensive players are, but I would try to bring a couple of them in as cover/cup players.

    In the midfield I would let Elneny and Xhaka go if buyers can be found. There have been rumours of interest in both over the last couple of months, so Arsenal might even get a bit of money for them. I would keep Chambers as mentioned earlier, and bring in at least one of the youth team players, ie Willock. The big addition I would want to see here though is an energetic creative player, who can help drive the team forward.

    In attack I would try to move both Mkhitaryen and Ozil on although realistically I would settle for one going. Bring in a couple of wide players, either from the youth teams ie Nketiah, Nelson etc or cheaper options from the other Premier League clubs ie Ryan Fraser.
    I hope we dont lose either Lacazette or Aubamayang this summer, but accept that if Champions League isnt on offer that they may choose to go if a big offer is made. If so then I hope we reinvest the money carefully and improve the whole team.

    Behind the scenes, I suspect that it may be time for Steve Bould to go and have someone else take over the defensive coaching, last season was poor and this one hasnt been any better. As for Edu coming in as technical director, I appreciate that its not ideal that he wont start for a couple of months, but I cant imagine he hasnt already passed a few names on to the Arsenal scouts/recruitment team. He may also make a few informal phone calls to the players/agents concerned to have a chat if need be. As such whilst its not ideal, Im not that concerned.

    Fingers crossed, big summer. Fix the wage bill, fix/rebuild the defence, rebuild the midfield and give more width to the attack.

  16. You would keep Mustafi? Beyond belief! Insanity! I assumed you were an Arsenal SUPPORTER, NOT A SABOTEUR!

  17. Apart from Bellerin,Holding and Mav,all our first team defenders should be released and /or sold along with, Elneny, xhaka and Mik.Realistically we will be lucky to get £60m for the lot of them which will give Emery around £100m to spend on the assumption that a Budget of £45m has been sanctioned by our Board.Chambers who is better than Mustafi and Socratis in my opinion should be given the opportunity to show that his good form with Fulham was not an illusion.He is a strong versatile lad who can operate as a DM as well as a CB.We need a quality CB and LB and a natural left winger who can cross with his left foot on the run.This is what I would like to see happen but realistically it will not for two reasons.For a start it will take sometime to shift all the players mentioned and secondly I do not believe Emery or our Owner has the courage to enact the clear out suggested.No I’m afraid we will be faced with yet another season of poor quality players wearing the Red shirt only this time we will be overtaken by the likes of Everton, Wolves and especially Leicester who were very impressive despite their narrow defeat last night.Not much to look forward to I’m afraid.

  18. JF share your justifiable comments ‘re Mustafi , and Socratis is no better.

    1. 👍👍

  19. I stopped reading Ur article when u said Sokratis is just not good enough n Mustafi has been better..!!

    1. he’s not wrong. sokratis isn’t good enough. Nobody above us in the table would have him.

      1. Not many below us either.

  20. Mustafi is not good enough. Lichsteiner and Monreal are over the hill. Koscielny has one season. Ozil is finished, Jenkinson is not good enough. Our defence is a shambles. Elneny, Ozil and Xhaka should never wear an Arsenal shirt again. I’ve never seen a team who could not get even a couple of draws in their final few games, results that could have seen us in the champions league again. Defence starts in the midfield and without Aaron Ramsey we were pathetic. So my first signing would be a Ramsey Playalike……..James Maddison of Leicester. Harry Maguire is another one we could pay good money for. Wilf Zaha is a no brainer, he is in his peak. Go in early Emery or Arsenal will left behind. Be PROACTIVE! Give Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Zak Medley and Joe Willock some games to integrate them.

  21. While Harry Maguire and Kostas Manolas can help with the defence as well as Willi Orban, Lukas Klostermann can help pursue Kolasinac away from that team or make him sit up due to a healthy competition. Suso and Hirving Lozano can bring serenity at the wings(Fraser Ryan will also be a great addition). Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolo Barella(Ramsey’s potential replacement IMO), Julian Weigl(who should be able to pursue Xhaka) and Houssem Aouar in midfield should complete a strong team for next season. Just dreams tho

  22. I think people are wrong about chambers,he’ll come back a different&better player with more experience and could even play in midfield!

  23. MUSTAFI MUST GO!
    One of the worst signings for £35 million
    He is a liability
    Also sell Jenkinson
    Sell Chambers IF we need to raise funds

  24. When you watch Liverpool it makes u realise how far behind Arsenal is in the knowhow of assembling the right players, contract negotiations and onward sales when necessary. I remember watching mane years go while still at Southampton then I was thinking why Arsenal didnt go for him, we had walcot, I think gervinho etc , in hindsight we could have traded all these aforementioned players to get him but u can’t help but wonder why we are so poor in player recruitment, and general club operations , then again was Wenger keen in working with strong characters players??



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