In the light of recent events at Arsenal Football Club, there is absolutely no doubt about that fact the squad is crying out for a new centre-back. An injury to Laurent Koscielny and a suspension to Calum Chambers saw Arsene Wenger have to deploy second-choice left-back Nacho Monreal alongside Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defence on Saturday against Hull. Also, with first-choice right-back Mathieu Debuchy also injured, 19 year-old Hector Bellerin was given a start for the first time in the Premie League. The Gunners conceded two poor goals as the Tigers nearly left the Emirates with all three points. Danny Welbeck saved the blushes with a late equaliser to make sure the match ended 2-2.
Wenger has some stern thinking to do. In the summer, Thomas Vermaelen was sold to Barcelona and no re-inforcement was brought in. The fans voiced their concern at this even before the season started. Now their worst fears have come true, after Koscielny’s injury.
Wenger told the club management in last week’s Annual General Meeting that he needs to bolster the squad. At least one quality centre-back has to be brought in in January. Here are 3 possible candidates:
1) Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund):
A proven and experienced defender at the highest level for both club and country, Hummels is reportedly a major target for Arsenal in January. According to reports from the Daily Mail, the Borussia Dortmund man is one of the first names on Wenger’s list. The German international has been a pillar of consistency in recent seasons, and was one of the best players of the recent World Cup in Brazil, which his country won.
The 25 year-old though, comes with a hefty price-tag. Arsenal will reportedly have to cough up £32 million to have any chance of landing Hummels to the Emirates. Also, the Gunners face stiff competition from Manchester United, who are themselves looking to bolster a frail defence in January.
It is unlikely that this move will happen due to the large sum of money involved, but Wenger has proven in the last couple of years that he is willing to spend big to get the players he wants. Getting Hummels will be a major coup for Arsenal, and their problem in the centre-back department will be well and truly sorted.
2) Virgil van Dijk (Celtic):
The 23 year-old Dutchman is also high on the list of Arsenal’s targets for January. The Celtic defender has impressed with his performances for the Scottish champions over the last season and a half. He has a keen eye for goal too, scoring 7 times in 63 games for the Scots. According to recent reports from the reputed Telegraph, Wenger made an unsuccessful effort to sign van Dijk in the summer and is likely to go for him again in January. Details on exact transfer fee still remain unknown, but there is no doubt that he will come at a much cheaper price than Hummels.
3) Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa):
The option closest to home for Arsenal comes in the form on Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar. A consistent performer over the last few seasons in a very inconsistent side, Vlaar was one of the main men in Louis Van Gaal’s Netherlands side at the recent World Cup. Like Hummels though, he too is being closely monitored by Manchester United, the side that Van Gaal now manages. A fee of around £12 million should be good enough to lure the Villa officials to sell the 29 year-old.
Arsenal have, in the past, been linked to several big-name players, but deals have never gone through. This time though, they face a crisis. It is absolutely imperative that they sign at least one quality centre-back in January to avoid the crisis turning into a downright disaster.