Arsene Wenger made it clear that he was in the market for a new defender a few days back, but there has been no signing til now. With only nine days to go before the transfer window closes, the French tactician will look to bring another centre back to the Emirates.
The Gunners have only two fit centre backs, Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou, and the other two defenders, Sebastien Squillaci and Thomas Vermaelen, are currently injured.
Djourou, who did not play in the previous season except for the final game, was expected to play only two games a week for the most of this season. However, injuries have meant that the Swiss defender has had to play a number of games and the Gunners have benefited greatly from his impressive form this season. Despite his superb performances, Wenger will want to rest him if possible so that he stays fit.
The Gunners will be in a horrible position if the Swiss international gets injured at this time of the season, which is why Wenger needs to bring in another defender. They have been linked with a number of defenders, including the likes of Christopher Samba of Blackburn and Per Mertesacker of Werder Bremen, but one defender who has been continuously linked with a move to the Emirates is Bolton defender Gary Cahill.
Wenger has also stated that he would like to sign a defender who has the experience of playing in the Premiership. In the previous season, Cahill was one of the targets, according to reports, but he was priced too high which is why Arsenal could not sign him. It is likely to be quite high this time as well, but Cahill could be interested in the move which would be significant in reducing the price.
Chelsea's top target remains Benefica defender David Luiz and should they sign the talented defender, it is unlikely that any other top European club other than Arsenal will be interested in signing the English international. Also, the Gunners could loan the talented Carlos Vela til the end of the season, which would also interest Bolton manager Owen Coyle.
The Bolton defender has been in superb form this season, which is one of the reasons that the club is in the top half of the table. Though it does seem like a no-brainer that Arsenal sign the English defender, let us analyse the pros and cons of signing the talented defender.
Gary Cahill is a quality defender who has proved that he is amongst the best defenders in the league with consistent displays this season. Also, he is quite young at 25 and has a bright future ahead of him. The England international has excellent aerial ability, which is important, and also makes vital interceptions to break up play when necessary. He is experienced in the Premiership and will fit into the Arsenal side without many problems.
He also has leadership skills despite his age and can be immense for the Gunners in the future if they do sign him. Wenger likes defenders who have decent technical ability and Cahill is one of the few defenders who can bring out the ball from the back to start attacks. He is also eligible to play in the Champions League games this season, which is not the case with many other transfer targets like Mertesacker and Vertonghen.
Cahill is a player who will undoubtedly add a lot of quality to the team, which is why it is difficult to point out many disadvantages in signing him.
The biggest problem that Wenger would face if he does sign a player like Cahill is how he will accommodate him in the first team. It would mean that the Gunners have five centre backs and it is likely that Sebastien Squillaci might be sold in the summer, which is unfortunate for the Frenchman.
Koscielny and Djourou have both shown that they have the talent to be successful for the Gunners on a regular basis, and both of them deserve to have enough playing time in the future in order to develop into excellent defenders. Thomas Vermaelen is certainly going to be a starter if he is match fit, which leaves only one place for the other defenders.
Gary Cahill will be most likely to start games alongside the Belgian while Koscielny and Djourou might not get enough opportunities to realise their potential. Koscielny and Djourou have both shown that they do have a lot of potential, but if Cahill is signed by Arsenal, it is likely that the duo will receive lesser playing time in the important competitions.
Will Wenger Spend the Money Required To Sign Gary Cahill?
Arsene Wenger will have to make a big decision this week on whether to spend the money required to acquire a quality defender like Gary Cahill. The French tactician will have to sell one of the two new defensive acquisitions in the summer if they do buy a defender like Cahill. Also, Djourou in particular deserves to start games regularly for the Gunners and he looks to have gotten over his injury problems.
The French tactician might opt for a quick fix solution and buy a defender of much lower quality like Matthew Upson or Sol Campbell, but if Arsenal are to challenge consistently on all four fronts, a strong defender like Gary Cahill could be extremely useful for the Gunners. With the goalkeeping issues finally solved, a quality central defender is the requirement for Arsenal to win titles regularly in the future.
This article is also featured on The Invincible Gunners, a blog on Arsenal and other football news