Arsenal apparently made a mistake when they spent £72 million on Nicolas Pepe, and should have put that money towards tempting Harry Maguire from Leicester City. That is according to Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer, who bases his stance on a rather obvious fact that the Gunners had no problems upfront in recent years, as opposed to what’s been going on in defence.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ show The Debate, the former Leeds United, Newcastle and West Ham player pointed out that Arsenal are defensively ‘frail’, conceding far too many goals. Well, it’s hard to argue with that. Bowyer says the team have been struggling with centre-backs, and from that aspect, it would have made far more sense to sign Maguire to patch things up, rather than bringing in another attacker to add to the potency already present in the forms of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. He believes the England international would have been the perfect solution, exactly what Arsenal need to stabilize their back line.
Looking at it in retrospect, the 42-year-old arguably makes a good point. That is not to say that Pepe has in any way disappointed; it would be far too early to make that call on the French winger. It’s more to do with the fact that, as Bowyer says, the Gunners conceded too many goals last season, and that seems to have carried over to this campaign as well given that points are once again being dropped from winning positions.
Be that as it may, Arsenal did not go for Maguire. He moved to Manchester United instead, and Pepe arrived to the Emirates along with David Luiz, who was expected to be that difference maker in the centre-back department but is yet to live up to those expectations. The same problems remain, and the team doesn’t seem to have moved from the place they were at throughout the 2018/19 season.