Calum Chambers Is Solid Addition for Arsenal, but Only If Bacary Sagna Stays

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Mesut Oezil of Arsenal has a close eye on Calum Chambers of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium on January 28, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Arsenal are making provisions for life without Bacary Sagna. In recent weeks, they've been linked with a host of right-backs, and the latest is Southampton's Calum Chambers. Sami Mokbel of The Daily Mail writes:

Arsenal are considering a summer move for Southampton defender Calum Chambers to replace Bacary Sagna.

Chambers, who is still only 19, has made 21 Premier League appearances for Mauricio Pochettino's side this season after graduating through the club's academy.

He has impressed the Gunners' domestic scouting team on a number of occasions and is seen as a long-term successor to current first choice right-back Sagna.

Chambers is undoubtedly a huge prospect. He probably caught Wenger's eye with a particularly impressive display against Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium earlier this season. His assured performances have forced Nathaniel Clyne to spend extended spells on the bench.

Chambers' forays forward have seen him singled out as one to watch. However, he's also a very solid defender. According to Squawka, he has won 62 percent of his attempted tackles this season. The reliable Sagna has, by comparison, won just 55 percent.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Calum Chambers of Southampton tangles with Leighton Baines of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on December 29, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

For such a young player, that statistic demonstrates an instinctive aptitude for the role of full-back. There is a raw ability there that makes Chambers a really exciting prospect.

However, he's still enormously inexperienced. He made his full debut as recently as August 2012 and has only really begun to establish himself in the second half of this season. Doubts remain over whether or not he is ready to play at Champions League level on a regular basis.

The idea would be for Chambers to arrive as understudy to Sagna. The latest reports suggest that's not beyond the realms of possibility. According to Wayne Veysey of, talks with Sagna could be about to reach a breakthrough:

Bacary Sagna is close to reaching an agreement with Arsenal over a new contract, Goal understands.

Sagna’s representatives have held positive fresh talks with the club and the Gunners hierarchy believe they have made a breakthrough in their attempt to extend the player’s deal beyond this season. 

The right-back is believed to be settled with his family in London and is increasingly likely to snub offers from Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Inter Milan to remain at Arsenal.

If Arsenal could keep Sagna, Chambers would be an ideal signing as a long-term replacement. With Carl Jenkinson also in the squad, Chambers could potentially be loaned back to Southampton to continue to learn his trade.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle United looks to get around Calum Chambers of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James' Park on December 14, 2013 in N
Tony Marshall/Getty Images

He might not be ready right away, but Chambers will surely be a top-class full-back within a few years. If they can keep Sagna to bridge the gap, Arsenal would be wise to get in early and beat the competition to the punch.


James McNicholas is Bleacher Report’s lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.