Arsenal Transfers: 8 Defenders Arsene Wenger Should Consider This Summer
As has been painfully clear in the Premier League and Champions League this season, Arsenal need new defenders.
Laurent Koscielny and Sebastian Squillaci haven't lived up to expectations so far, while it remains to be seen whether Thomas Vermaelen will fully return to the form before his achilles injury.
As for the full-backs, on the left Gael Clichy's future is up in the air, whilst Kieran Gibbs isn't showing true defensive promise. And on the right, Bacary Sagna is getting all too comfortable with no challenge for his position.
And of course, it's clear the Gunners need experienced, world-class players who can lead the team and make a strong defensive impact at the Emirates, giving Arsenal the winning mentality and steel edge they so desperately need.
Therefore, new recruitments across the back four seem likely to be Arsene Wenger's transfer priority in the summer window, with a marquee defensive signing a decent possibility.
Here are eight experienced, world-class defenders Wenger and the Arsenal board of directors should consider this summer.
A no-nonsense, tough tackling centre-back with huge experience at the very highest level, Inter Milan's Lúcio is exactly the type of defender Arsenal need.
He may be 33, but the Brazilian World Cup winner still seems to have the legs left in him, and would add a sense of physicality and ruthlessness to the Gunners' back line.
And with his controlled and superbly accurate tackling ability, the former Bayern Munich legend could teach Laurent Koscielny a thing or two about how to tackle properly and not get sent off.
Having won the World Cup, three Bundesliga titles, a Serie A title, the Champions League, and many domestic cups, Lucio could well lead this young Arsenal side to big things next season.
A player forever linked with Arsenal, Jan Vertonghen really could make a difference at the Emirates.
Having known Thomas Vermaelen for years after forming a centre-back partnership for Ajax and the Belgium national team, Vertonghen's arrival could be the start of something special in the Arsenal back line, considering both have a great chemistry as a defensive duo and both have a decisive, hard-lined approach to defending.
And also having won the Eredivisie title with Ajax in 2010-11, 24-year old Vertonghen would also bring that champion mentality Arsenal need with him to North London.
Having rumoured to have agreed deals to sign with Liverpool and Real Madrid (depending on who you believe) for £25 million, Fabio Coentrao is one player Arsenal really could do well with on their flanks.
The 23-year-old left-back would be the perfect replacement for Gael Clichy, or even if the Frenchman isn't leaving, the perfect player to take his spot in the team.
With a remarkable ability to accurately slide tackle at pace and legitimately push wingers off the ball, Coentrao's explosive playing style would not only give the Gunners a hardened approach across the back four, but would also help stop the Premier League's—and the world's—fastest and most dangerous wingers, a massive plus point considering Arsenal's vulnerability against the counter-attack.
And having won the Portuguese Liga and played for Portugal's biggest club, SL Benfica, as well as being equally adept as a winger and having stellar technical ability, Fabio Coentrao would fit right in at Arsenal, a team who are crying out for a full-back like this Portuguese sensation.
A decisive player with great command over his defence, Barcelona's third-choice centre-back Gabriel Milito could well be the man to carry Arsenal over the threshold and into Premier League winning territory.
The 30-year-old Argentina international, having come up against the likes of Lionel Messi, David Villa, Pedro, Andres Iniesta and company in training, has great experience defending against the best attacking talent in the world.
His natural ball-playing style means he would fit right in at Arsenal both in matches and in training, whilst his knowledge of how to rough up and deal with the most technically able of attackers means Milito would also be at home in the Premier League, too.
And of course, having been schooled in the importance of supreme cardiovascular fitness by the world-class Barcelona coaches, Milito would also have no qualms in keeping up with the brutal rigours of the Premier League.
Fresh off of playing such an instrumental role in Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga title success, big Serbian centre-back Neven Subotic could be Arsenal's answer to Nemanja Vidic.
The 22-year-old has had a stellar campaign for Dortmund, with his unparalleled aerial ability in both penalty areas (something the Gunners really need in their team) crucial to the success of Die Schwarzgelben.
His huge frame also gives him the strength few centre-backs in Europe have at the moment, something which would've been most handy when dealing with Arsenal's nemesis players, such as Chelsea's Didier Drogba.
All that, combined with the fact he's speaks fluent English, having lived in Salt Lake City and then Florida for seven years, means £15 million-rated Subotic is a player who could well be the missing link in Arsenal's defence.
Having just won the Portuguese league title, as well as the Taca De Portugal and UEFA Europa League with Porto, centre-back star Rolando has been a sensation for the Dragões this season.
Being part of the team that conceded just 16 goals from 30 games in the league, the 25-year-old has established himself as Porto and Portugal's most important central defender.
The £16 million-rated star, a high quality talent with good all-round defensive capabilities, has both the mentality and the physicality of a footballing champion; two assets Arsenal players have lacked this season in their pursuit for Premier League glory.
Another player long linked with Arsenal, Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini is a player who epitomises the defensive discipline of Serie A.
A strong aerial threat for set pieces, Chiellini appears to always be in the right place at the right time when it comes to defending, with his highly muscular frame, dogged determination and aggressiveness, combined with his brutally tough tackling, not allowing many attackers at all to skip by this defensive colossus.
The absolute antithesis of the average Arsenal player now, Giorgio Chiellini is exactly the kind of footballer the Gunners need to harden them up and push them forward to Premier League success.
A born champion, a hugely experienced player, a strong leader, a very decisive footballer and a man of many languages, Gabriel Heinze is exactly what Arsenal need.
The 33-year-old has been there, done that and got the T-shirt, winning league titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Marseille, as well as destroying forwards year after year in the Champions League.
Considered the lynchpin of the defence wherever he goes, Heinze brings to any team he plays on the invaluable assets you can't teach on the training ground; a never-say-die attitude, strong leadership and a real team togetherness. These are all assets Arsenal have lacked this season.
At 33, Heinze might be seem to some as too old for the Gunners, but Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp hit the nail on the head when he said: "If you're going to keep progressing, (you need) that type of real character, who has opinions and that will to win around the dressing room – a few leaders.
"You can't have too many at your club."
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