For too long now, Arsenal have had a clear defensive weakness at centre-back. Former boss Arsene Wenger failed to fix it and current boss Unai Emery has been unable to fix the problem so far. However, to be fair to the Spaniard his reign in north London is in its infancy and he has not had much backing in the transfer market or time to sort the problem.
Centre-backs are not good enough
The simple fact is Arsenal’s centre-backs are not good enough. Experienced French centre-back Laurent Koscielny has been the Gunners best centre-back for a long time. However, injuries and the fact that he is the wrong side of 30 mean he will need replacing in the near future.
The other centre-backs at the club are much of a muchness. German international Shkodran Mustafi has struggled to do a decent impression of a top centre-back since his arrival at the club. I doubt many Arsenal fans would be lose any sleep if he left the club in the summer.
The jury is still out on summer signing Sokratis. However, his early performances for the Gunners do not suggest he is the top centre-back Arsenal needs. In fact, for me he is no better than the mediocre centre-backs already on the clubs books.
Young Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos has only enjoyed limited appearances for the Gunners. He has only recently returned from injury, so it would be unfair to judge him. He may be one for the future, but Emery’s team need one for the present.
Young centre-back Rob Holding was showing signs of good form before picking up a season-ending injury. Again, though, the former Bolton centre-back cannot be relied upon to marshal the Gunners backline.
Arsenal needs a quality centre-back in the summer
There may be a dearth of quality centre-backs around at the minute, but the Arsenal hierarchy need to back Emery and whoever is responsible to recruitment by allowing them to spend big money on a quality centre-back.
Emery had very little to work with when it came to a transfer kitty in the summer and in the January window. Improving the defence should be the priority for the Gunners in the summer.
The defence is the foundation of a team. If a team’s defence is poor, they will achieve very little. Arsenal’s current defence is poor and there needs to be an improvement next season or the Gunners could continue to flounder outside the top four.
Will Arsenal sign a quality centre-back in the summer transfer window?