Insert line including the phrase “trophy-less,” here.
We all know the score—another year, another layer of dust on the trophy cabinet shelf.
The recent 3-1 flop against Stoke City merely confirmed the need for some major personnel changes at the Emirates this summer. Nowhere is this more evident than at the center back position.
While Thomas Vermaelen will return to anchor the back line, it’s clear that it would be no sin to add a little more experience to the defensive corps.
The Gunners have been abysmal defending against set-pieces. Their tendency to fall apart at the back is surely a key reason as to why the year is going to end sans silverware yet again.
Even the rosiest of optimists would be hard pressed to argue that the Gunners would have at least won the Carling Cup were it not for the bumbling center backs.
Arsene has himself finally copped to the Gunners' frailty, and admits the need for some fresh blood. The Frenchman has indicated that he may look to sign a central defender that already has some Premier League experience.
Rumors are also swirling around the futures of both of Arsenal’s starting fullbacks.
Should one or even both leave North London, it would behoove the much-maligned professor to move at once to secure a replacement.
With the season running out, the speculation regarding the summer transfer window is heating up, with no shortage of names being linked with a move to the Emirates.
I think we can all agree that those moves are needed, and with all indications pointing toward a fire sale in the offseason, it looks as though moves there will be.
The only question is, are they going to be the right ones?
Here is a list of eight defenders who have been linked with a move to Arsenal, that could be on Wenger’s radar this summer.
The Belgian center back has been in tremendous form for Ajax this season, with a return of seven goals in his 44 appearances for the Eredivisie giants.
While Vertonghen might not want to talk about his future in Amsterdam before this weekend and the league-deciding tilt with FC Twente, that of course won’t stop the rest of the footballing world.
Wenger has been tracking the 24-year-old Belgian international for the past two years, and talk has intensified that he could be on a plane to North London in the near future.
The friend and national team partner of Thomas Vermaelen has stated his interest in a switch to the Premier League, and appears to be the kind of player that the Gunners need to shore up their back line.
His physical prowess, ability to score goals and strength in the air would be a welcome addition to the defense.
Arsene Wenger was rumored to have made overtures to Stuttgart for the services of Tasci last summer, and according to some recent reports, may look to reopen that discussion this year.
The 24-year-old central defender is signed until 2014, and the Bundesliga side is thought to be clinging fast to the £10 million price range for Tasci.
The German international has made 195 appearances for Stuttgart and 13 for the national side.
Samba recently revealed that he almost left Blackburn for North London in January.
With Arsene Wenger indicating that he wouldn’t shy away from signing a defender with Premier League experience, a move for the talented center back seems to be well within the realm of possibility.
The Congolese defender has made 143 appearances at Ewood Park and is just the type of player who could add some iron to the Gunners' back line.
Manchester United are also reported to be interested in the 18-year-old French star. This idea may quickly pass out of the Gunners' reach if Fergie gets into a bidding war with FC Bayern Munich, who are also rumored to be interested.
Besides, youth is not the answer to the Gunners' defense. That's not the problem.
The 6'3" defender barely has a year of top-flight experience, having made his first-team debut just last season. However, he is highly thought of as a player.
My take: Back off, professor. Let United have him.
In a recent interview with Sport.co.uk, the Montpellier center back revealed that his dream is to move to the Premier League at the conclusion of the current term. The Bosnian international also said that he was close to signing for Arsenal last summer.
The 30-year-old has been good in France, despite a couple of disciplinary issues. However, he has made clear his desire to move on.
He has been a key part of the Bosnian international team since his debut in 2003, and if Montpellier are a little more reasonable than the £25 million they reportedly demanded last year, Spahic could find himself in North London before long.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal intend to make a run at the England international in the summer.
Jagielka has been in top form for Everton as of late, prompting David Moyes to say that his center back is as good as any in the country.
While it would without doubt require a large transfer free to prise the 28-year-old from Goodison Park, Wenger has indicated that he could be willing to spend a little more this summer.
This change of attitude comes after the club has come under the control of American billionaire Stan Kroenke, and as the fans are howling for blood after another barren campaign.
Jagielka would give the Gunners a commanding center back presence with tons of experience.
It would appear that the German international will be leaving his current club, Werder Bremen, before too long.
Arsene Wenger is rumored to have some interest in the German star, and Mertesacker would look pretty good in an Arsenal jersey at the center back position.
Gary Cahill has been linked to a switch to North London this offseason.
The 25-year-old Bolton defender could be a great addition to the squad at the Emirates. Cahill is a strong central defender and has been capped three times for England.