Arsenal Transfer News: Wenger Plans For Future With Chris Smalling
Last summer Wenger highlighted defence as the main area in need of reinforcement. So far he has already done some good business, and bringing in England under 21 defender Chris Smalling could see that continue.
When Toure was sold to Manchester City for £14 million in the summer, there would have been some raised eyebrows and shaking heads amongst Arsenal's fans. Hindsight however, provides a different perspective.
Kolo Toure had already been struggling in his last season at the Emirates, and this form has generally continued at Manchester City. Conceding 30 goals already this season, with 14 of them at home, is more like mid table form rather than that of a European contention club.
Coming in at Arsenal was Vermaelen, costing only £10 million. This looks like a stroke of transfer brilliance. So far he has proved to be a more effective defensive partner for Gallas, and at only 24 he has a potentially long career at Arsenal ahead of him.
That said, statistically, Arsenal's defensive record has not really improved this season. Conceding 23 goals in 21 league game is slightly worse than last term's 37 conceded in 38 matches.
Bringing back Arsenal's invincible stalwart, Campbell, on a free transfer might make good business sense, but it's unlikely to improve their current defensive record. Sol has been brought in as cover for Wenger's starting pair of Gallas and Vermaelen, not replace either of them in the line-up.
Many predicted this would herald the sale of want-away centre back Senderos. This now seems less likely, as he could potentially be going on loan to Celtic. Considering Wenger's long term support of the player, this would make sense.
Wenger seems confident in his current centre back pairing, but for such a forward thinking manager, replacing 32 year old Gallas will be in his thoughts.
With Djourou already waiting in the wings and Senderos still potentially at the club next year, it would be understandable that Wenger would be looking at very youthful targets.
That target could be Fullham's Chris Smalling. If rumours are correct then Arsenal are about to table a £7 million bid for the England under 21 player.
That kind of money would certainly give Hodgson pause for thought. Despite the Fullham managers belief in Smalling's potential for the future, £7 million would give him the opportunity to make a buy that could turn around his clubs current fortunes.
At over 6'4" the 20 year old Smalling could provide the kind of physical presence that Sol Campbell once did. A first team place at Arsenal would be some way off for the young lad though, as he'd be behind the similar statured 23 year old Djourou.
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