Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has vowed to bolster his defensive ranks over the summer hiatus, after admitting that his side have been guilty of some ‘average’ defensive performances last year.
Former Ajax centre-back Thomas Vermaelen has proven to be a shrewd acquisition on Wenger’s part, but sporadic injuries have marred an otherwise impressive debut season in the Premier League for the Belgian.
Vermaelen’s usual defensive partner, William Gallas, looks set to leave the Emirates in the near-distant future as his ongoing contract dispute rumbles to an almost-inevitable conclusion, and the poor form of Mikael Silvestre coupled with a long-term knee injury to Johan Djourou has meant that Wenger has had to increasingly rely on the aging legs of 35-year-old Sol Campbell in the heart of his defense as last season wore on.
As reliable as Campbell has been since his shock return to the Gunners, Wenger has still confirmed that he wishes to add at least one more defensive player to his ranks if they are to realistically contend for silverware next season;
“If you divide the season into two – going forward we have done very well but defensively we have been average.”
“When you concede 40 goals you don’t win the championship and I want to rectify that. My transfer policy this summer will be to keep our strengths going forward, add one player, and add more defensive strength to our team.”
“When you’re as close to a trophy and you don’t do it, it’s disappointing but overall if you look back over the season, I am proud of our attitude and spirit.”
“Unfortunately we got injuries in the final sprint of the season. This season has shown that we have quality, spirit and we have also discovered players who have made massive improvements so there is a very strong basis to do extremely well.”
“Not a lot is needed when you come as close as we did this year having lost the big games. I think we have a massive chance to come back and win it. Let’s be consistent, come back next year and be even stronger.”
Wenger is reportedly set to receive a £30-45 million war chest to strengthen his squad following the club’s positive financial postings last season, and Fulham’s Brede Hangeland, Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic and Bolton’s Gary Cahill are but a few of the names thought to be on the Frenchman’s summer wishlist.