Top class defenders are available for Arsenal if they look hard enough.

Imagine that you are an employer, you have a list of CV’s in front of you, you have seen the applicants at work and what you have read is highly impressive. You are in a position to employ these outstanding candidate and so you would think it would be foolhardy not to at least try, right?

OK, let’s look at a few of these players CV’s and ask yourself, could any half-decent manager turn these sort of defenders into an impregnable force.

Player one

Hugely experienced, won almost every trophy in the game at club level across multiple leagues with multiple clubs, a leader of men, captained his country, a fantastic personality with a very high confidence level. The sort of player that young upcoming stars can look up to and be inspired by.

Player two

World cup winner, highly experienced and yet below the age of 30, experienced in Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League, massive confidence in his own ability and never lets negativity get him down. Never hides and will always stand his ground no matter what is thrown at him by the media, fans and so-called pundits. A man that has the ability to dig himself out of the abyss.

Player three

A very young player that has already won no less than eight major trophies in his homeland. A defender that won goal of the season, that made the team of the year three times, won the young player of the year three times and all that from just 102 games. A youngster that has a lethal shot, that has played in the Champions League, that has represented his country, that crosses the ball with superb accuracy and is as fast as a Cheetah.

Player four

An international defender that has played for one of the biggest clubs on the planet, a defender good enough to make the Premier League team of the year, a defender that is versatile and when at full fitness is one of the best flying wing-backs around, a leader of men, an inspiration to his teammates, a defender that is not afraid to say what he thinks publicly and a player that has already shown that he is a top talent that has yet to return to that level due to a long term injury but at 25 still has more than enough time to get his game back on track before he hits his peak.

So, those four players, would you sign them if they were available?

Well, they are not available, their names are, in order, David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin.

On paper that is one formidable back four don’t you think? So why is it that they have not stepped up for Arsenal and produced the goods.

Well, management is one good reason, it is no coincidence that Luiz and Mustafi have improved massively under Mikel Arteta. Then you have injuries to Tierney and Bellerin, in better words, there are excuses and under the right management, those four could easily form a solid top quality defence.

Now, let me ask you this, is that back four better than this back four?

Bukayo Saka
Pablo Mari
William Saliba
Cedric Soares

Then you still have Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac and Sokratis that can be thrown into the mix.

I refuse to believe that Arteta cannot form a back four from all the above named players that would compare to any other team in the Premier League.

Look at all their CV’s look at what they have achieved elsewhere. There has to be a reason it has not worked out at Arsenal but whatever that reason is, it does not mean that Arteta will fail because Unai Emery and to some degree, Arsene Wenger did.

In my opinion, if the above named players played for another team the transfer mill would be in overdrive linking them with Arsenal because their achievements and track record justify Arsenal being linked with them.

I am not that sure that it is always the players at fault, the structure and management of the club have to take a large portion of the blame, hopefully, Arteta will right that and we may yet get to see how good these players really are.


  1. Great article Martin, that then begs the question…if Mikel Arteta can’t get a solid back four from this group of players, has he failed?

    In my opinion, he will have, unless our injury jinx strikes yet again.

    To be fair to UE, he had a terrible injury list to contend with, mainly at the back as well.

    We should be preparing for Auba, Lacs and Ozil leaving the club (unless they sign new contracts) and that is where we should be, either, blooding our excellent young players, or look to sign players that are better than them.

    1. Well, eventually having a poor defence cost both Wenger and Emery their jobs. Not sure how Arteta can be held to a different standard. Hopefully, he does sort it because I honestly do believe there is a good defence there. It cannot be normal that so many defenders with a mass of medals and playing for top quality clubs arrive at Arsenal and do not reproduce what they did previously.

  2. On paper they’re good enough.

    On grass they’re not.

    We all know that we need two new CBs of the highest quality.

    Saliba looks like he will probably be one of them.

    Now we need another one to pair with him.

    I remember how Liverpool were top 3 or top 4 and playing good football with a good manager and then the club backed that manager when he said I need 2 really top quality players. Klopp bought Virgil van Dyk and Alisson Becker. These two players added such a foundation that all the others could go and shine.

    At Arsenal we have a top quality manager and we need just 2 or 3 top quality players to be very similar to Liverpool.

    Both clubs have good managers.
    Both clubs have 3-4 academy graduates in the first team.
    Both clubs have 3-4 seasoned professionals.
    Both clubs have 3-4 younger players who’ve now established themselves.
    Both clubs have 3-4 proven goalscorers.

    Liverpool have owners that backed their manager when he said I want and need 2-3 players of the highest quality and we are going to have to pay for them.

    Arsenal don’t have that kind of owner.

    If Arteta said to Kroenke, “you have enough money to buy Declan Rice and Opamecano and they won’t be cheap but those two players will transform us from being mid table to real title contenders I promise you.”

    Kroenke will say “No”

    Kroenke is the reason why Arsenal will not win the title in the next 10-15 years.

    Until the fanbase unite behind the “Kroenke Out” banner the club will not move forward.

  3. Unai Emery made the EL final with Mustafi Koscielny AMN and Monreal and with out Pepe Luiz Martinelli Ceballos and Tierney. Emery also got 5th place in the league just one point from CL qualification. Arteta has Arsenal on track to record the clubs lowest league position since 1995. Arteta also bombed out in the EL round of 32 again the clubs worst performance in 25 years.
    Arteta is a long way behind Emery right now.

    1. Hi Stevo,

      Agreed those facts are not pretty.

      However, I doubt you want Unai Emery back in charge at Arsenal.

      And, regardless of past failures or current results, I doubt Kroenke is going to back Arteta or any manager for that matter.

      We know Kroenke has the money to transform Arsenal.

      We know there are players out there such as Declan Rice, Opamecano and many others, that would transform Arsenal.

      We know Kroenke won’t transform Arsenal.

      The only ones who can transform Arsenal are the fans by uniting behind the “Kroenke Out” banner.

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