Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Top 10 Defenders Wenger Must Sign This Transfer Window

Mohamed Eldin MasriSenior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2011

Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Top 10 Defenders Wenger Must Sign This Transfer Window

0 of 11

    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    With half the month over, and half the transfer window gone with it, this is the time, where any Gooner can tell you, that Arsenal's transfer window is just beginning. Wenger has always made the transfers in the final days of any transfer period, and this time this tradition seems imminent.

    It has become a situ, rather than a mere unfortunate coincidence to see Arsenal stumble against weaker sides, and the traditional aftermath were the players claim that the opposition were playing anti-football and rugby-like tactics have become tedious and mundane.

    Indeed, the opposition usually play against Arsenal in an anti-football like behavior, especially the weaker sides, but what did the players expect?

    Teams like Ipswich and Leeds cannot play attacking football against a team like Arsenal, that would be suicide, as they aren't even in the Premier League, and they found themselves playing against one of the most attacking teams on the planet. It was only elementary that Ipswich and Leeds would play the way they did, and none can blame them.

    Arsenal have been fodder for the weak this season, games like New Castle, Braga, Leeds and Ipswich aren't a fluke, but rather a mistake that Wenger refuses to learn from. Sometimes you need to do more than just pretty football, George Graham can attest to that.

    Arsenal disappointed in the first leg of both the FA cup and the League Cup, and are lucky to be still in the FA cup, as Leeds were looking to shock the world like they did with Manchester United last year, but Arsenal were lucky to equalize. That doesn't mean much at this point in time, seeing how the Gunners are stuck between a rock, and a surprisingly hard place, one they shouldn't have even been in at all.

    Wenger has stated that he is in the market looking for a defender, news that will come as a breath of fresh air to Gooners everywhere, seeing as how Koscielny and Squillaci have been truly far from impressive, and Vermaelen is nowhere near a full recovery.

    Thus leaving Wenger assume the role of a helpless man. But at least Wenger can take solace in the grandiose performances and displays witnessed by Johan Djourou, arguably Arsenal's best defender thus far.

    There are certain players Wenger must consider. It takes a lot of courage to admit one's mistakes, especially when they are as fresh as the two summer signings Wenger has made, but the Arsenal manager must face the truth and come to the realization that the French duo do not have what it takes to make Arsenal's season.

    There are, however, quite a few players who are worthy enough to wear the Arsenal shirt and defend the Gunners' goal with style, precision, and most of all, consistency.

    Each one of the top 10 defenders in this list brings something new to the table, something that has been missing from this Arsenal side in recent seasons.

Matthew Upson

1 of 11

    Upson at Arsenal? Every athlete dreams of a second chance.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    He might have failed the first time he was part of the Gunners' squad, but that can come down to inexperience and age. Wenger preferred the older and at the time, tremendous qualities provided by Campbell, and the committed Kolo Toure, leaving Upson with only 56 appearances during his six-year tenure at the club.

    However, this time around Upson has all the qualities and the experience he needs to back Arsenal in defense. A centre-back who performed well during England's shambolic World Cup campaign, and has proven time and again that he has the experience to keep up with the very best.

    Despite his age, Wenger would do well to consider Upson. The England international player won't cost much money at the moment, due to his age and the fact that he becomes a free agent in the summer. Also, there is the very likely possibility of West Ham getting relegated come the end of the season.

    While he might be a good choice in the EPL, it's unlikely that Upson would help Arsenal in the Champions League, a competition where he so very rarely participated in during his career.

    The possibility of Upson joining Arsenal are slim to none, but one would wonder if Upson would impress, should he ever get a chance to play a second time for the Gunners.

    As the saying goes: "Every athlete dreams of a second chance."

Per Mertesacker

2 of 11

    Joern Pollex/Getty Images

    A player that has eluded Arsene Wenger during the past few years, so much so, that it appears that at times Wenger is chasing his own shadow.

    Mertesacker has been linked with the Gunners for the past three years, and it's understandable why. On paper, the towering German has what it takes to end Arsenal's defensive problems.

    Mertesacker has the height, the physicality and the aerial ability to shun and silence the attackers who come in his path. However, there has been very little progress to bring the German international to the Emirates Stadium, if any.

    Mertesacker is a key player for both club and country, is at a young age, and would be the perfect partner for Vermaelen. Most notably due to the fact that Vermaelen tends to press and come out of his cover to tackle the opposition, leaving the back exposed at times. Something that has cost Arsenal at times.

    Mertesacker's defensive nature would mean that Vermaelen can press early as usual, but have some cover at the back in the form of Mertesacker. Something that would give Arsenal a higher possibility of surviving the counter-attacks, which Arsenal has failed to prevent in recent seasons.

    Mertesacker seems like an unlikely transfer, but would indeed be welcomed at the Emirates Stadium, should Wenger ever consider taking a chance with the German.

Giorgio Chiellini

3 of 11

    Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

    While the possibility of this transfer happening is non-existent, there's no doubt that a man with Chiellini's stature would turn Arsenal's fortunes at the back.

    Aggressive, brutal, and a great reader of the game, Chiellini is the type of defender that can shut down the world's very best attackers.

    Sadly, however, even if Juventus are willing to sell their current captain, only teams like Madrid, Barcelona and City have the mentality to pay such money on a player, something Arsenal thankfully lacks.

    The possibilities of this transfer occurring are dead on arrival.

Raul Albiol

4 of 11

    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    This transfer might actually occur, thanks mainly to Mourinho's liking of older players. Carvalho has been brought in and is now an integral part of the first-team squad, and that has led to Raul Albiol being benched, despite his talent.

    Arsenal need an imposing defender who can command his back-line in cool, calm and collected manner. His pace isn't too bad either, and he is quite capable in the air.

    The only problem that is expected to occur is the asking price. Anything over 10 million and Wenger might refuse without giving it much thought. 

    However, should Albiol join the Gunners, he can only enhance their chances of conceding less goals in their future endeavors.

Gary Cahill

5 of 11

    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    He has been strongly linked with the Gunners time and again. Gary Cahill, might seem as the strongest possible target for Arsene Wenger, especially with the good relationship maintained with Owen Coyle and Bolton Wanderers.

    However, Gary Cahill has a 20 million price tag slapped on him, and that would easily turn off an economic man such as Wenger. All is not lost, however. Wenger stated that he was looking to loan Carlos Vela, and Owen Coyle has already stated his desire for acquiring the services of the Mexican international. A loan move plus cash deal could possibly materialize.

    The possibility of Cahill joining the Gunners seems reasonable and likely, especially if the player himself is keen on donning the red and white shirt before the end of the month.

Brede Hangeland

6 of 11

    Tom Dulat/Getty Images

    Experience, strength and leadership, the American-born Norwegian has long been a target for Arsene Wenger, but Fulham always refused to sell their man.

    But alas, times are changing, and Fulham seem to be a sinking ship. Their best players would naturally want out, and that can only force them to sell Hangeland, should the right price be offered.

    Hangeland is Norway's captain, and has long impressed with Fulham, most notably his contributions to Fulham's impressive run to the final in the Europa League. He has the defensive mentality that can help Arsenal concede less goals in each game, and that alone makes him worthy of consideration.

    The possibility of this transfer occurring seems moderate, although Wenger might have already lost interest in the Norwegian captain already.

Jan Vertonghen

7 of 11

    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    While Vertonghen in no way passes as an experienced player, he is physical, gifted and young, things that Wenger have long admired. He has the ability to adapt to the EPL, and would come at a very reasonable price. Things that would convince Wenger to splash the cash for the Belgian international, especially after the Vermaelen transfer worked so well for Arsenal last summer.

    The downside is that Vertonghen isn't what Arsenal need at the moment. Buying a player and throwing in the middle of the season and expecting him to help his team to win the title in his first few months in the EPL is unfair for the player.

    Especially when he is only 23 years of age, and the only league he ever excelled in is the Eredivise, and Wenger himself stated that he would very much like to buy a defender from within the EPL.

    The chances of this transfer occurring are fair, although Vertonghen might not be the solution Wenger has longed for.

Johnny Heitinga

8 of 11

    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    One of the most reasonable options for Wenger is none other than Johnny Heitinga. The Dutchman is at the right age, is experienced, and has all the qualities that would make him excel with the Gunners.

    Heitinga is versatile, being able to play as a full-back, centre-back or as a defensive midfielder, not to mention that he helped Holland reach the World Cup final. He's also able to lead the back-line with absolute ease, as he so capably demonstrated in South Africa.

    The Dutchman has impressed in La Liga, and is also experienced in the EPL. Should Wenger look for quality and the possibility of getting more than your money's worth, he should look no further than Heitinga.

    The chances of this transfer occurring depends on Wenger's interest in the player, and his willingness to pay the amount demanded by Everton.

Christopher Samba

9 of 11

    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    While he might be considered an anti-Arsenal type of player, Chris Samba might be the easiest player to snatch during this transfer window. This mainly due to the fact that he expressed his disappointment regarding the sacking of Sam Allardyce, and his comments stating that he intends to leave Blackburn real soon.

    Wenger might not like Samba because of his style, and also the fact that he once scored a goal against Arsenal in manner that displeases Wenger, when the French born Congo international bullied Fabianski in a corner and scored the goal that won Blackburn the game. However, it must be noted that Arsenal themselves can do with a player of Samba's qualities. After all, Vieira and Co. were far from the cleanest team in the Premier League.

    Should Wenger consider acquiring Samba, the chances of this transfer occurring are quite high.

Simon Kjær

10 of 11

    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Another player that isn't exactly what Arsenal need at the moment, but the 21-year-old defender is one of Europe's brightest upcoming talents.

    Already impressed in Serie A with Palermo, Kjaer then transferred to former Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg, and while Wolfsburg have been struggling in the Bundesliga, that takes nothing from Kjaer's talent.

    The Denmark international has the pace and reflexes to help him block and shut down players with pace, he is also good in the air and has the strength to get physical with players like Drogba and Rooney.

    While he isn't expected to adapt to the EPL quickly, especially after failing to adapt to the Bundesliga from the get-go, Kjaer can be a crucial part of any team once on form and feeling comfortable.

    He lacks experience, but Kjaer has the world in-front of him and is filled with potential to impress the biggest teams in Europe.

    A potential transfer is highly unlikely, but Wenger would do no wrong in monitoring the progress of Kjaer over the next season. He may just be what Wenger and Arsenal need for their long-term plans.


11 of 11

    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Of all the names mentioned, Cahill, Upson and Samba are the most likely candidates, but only Cahill is the player that might actually give the Gunners something new amongst their ranks.

    At only the age of 25, and already an England international, Cahill has already established himself as one of the most promising players in the EPL. Wenger should consider negotiating with Bolton and trying to get them to lower their asking price because only with a quality defender to compliment their midfield and attack will Arsenal be able to stand a chance against England and Europe's finest.