Arsenal Transfer Rumors: 6 Players That Can Help Arsenal Get Defensive
Scoring has never been an issue for a an Arsenal squad during the Wenger era. Recently though, the Gunners problems have come from the defensive end.
There is no mistaking the potential and quality in the team from attacking midfield onward. And while Alex Song has blossomed into the Gunners' best defensive option in midfield, the defense has still been too exposed at times.
Over the last few years their goals allowed statistic has usually been the highest compared to the top teams. While their ability to score goals makes them potential contenders in any competition, their inability to clamp down at important times, in important games, has led to a lack of success in recent years.
No one can doubt Wenger's ability to unearth and sculpt some great attack minded talents, but Arsenal's defensive problems have been cause for concern for some time. Vermaelen has been the only recent defensive purchase, and current Gunner, who has performed consistently when he plays.
If Wenger is able to maintain a core of key players from his past few seasons, and integrate at least a few new players, whether some on this list or otherwise, the 2011/12 campaign could be a successful one.
Wenger may be willing to put his faith in the confident young shot stopper Wojciech Szczesny, but he still has yet to go through a full Premiership season. Signing Akinfeev would give him more time to mature, and give Arsenal a proven and reliable goalkeeper.
The Russian and CSKA Moscow goalkeeper has been linked with Arsenal and a number of big clubs in previous years. Though only 25 years old, he is highly experienced both internationally and on the European scene.
Goalkeepers have not surfaced in any Arsenal rumors so far this summer, and with Akinfeev expected to be on the pricey side, a deal is unlikely.
It remains to be seen who would be the best option going forward, but at this point, Wenger should go with the proven rather than just potential.
Another option comes in the form of the Australian and Fulham goalkeeper.
Schwarzer would most likely be available at a much cheaper price, and a much more advanced age. Schwarzer's experience with the Premier League would prove valuable in tight games.
At 38 years of age, Schwarzer would provide just enough years to give Szczesny time to grow whilst providing stability between the sticks. Given his usual attitude of disregarding older players, including those in his own squad, Wenger would be even less likely to fancy the Aussie as a viable option.
Both Manuel Alumnia and Lukasz Fabianski have had their chances. Vito Mannone provided a few good performances a season ago and would be a competent number three choice.
The Blackburn captain has to be included in this list. He is one of the few defenders that has been constantly linked with the Gunners so far this summer.
Coming from a tough Blackburn Rovers side, Samba would bring much needed strength and power to the Arsenal defense.
His aerial prowess would give Arsenal a better chance on defensive set pieces. With him providing the power to complement Vermaelen's more tactical game, Arsenal's defense is sure to be upgraded.
Djourou made strides in Vermaelen's absence, and was probably the best central defender when available. Neither Koscielny nor Squillaci performed consistently during the previous season, though Koscielny showed promise at times.
If Wenger is not ready to give away any of his recent signings, then Arsenal are in need of only one new central defender, and Samba is the most likely option at the moment.
The young German and Borussia Dortmund defender could prove to be a hard catch.
Midfield star Nuri Sahin has already moved to Real Madrid, and a number of big clubs are casting glances at the clubs young talents. With that in mind, unless a considerable amount is offered, they will be less likely to let any more of their young stars go.
If Wenger were to open the chequebook for a defender, Hummels would give him a longer-term option than Samba. Like Samba, he would provide the height the Gunners lack, and he may bring some physical prowess as well.
At his young age, Wenger would be able to fashion him into the perfect defensive fit for the Arsenal system.
The Swiss and Udinese midfielder is another one of the club's stars who could be on the move this summer. At this point it seems that a move to a bigger Italian club is on the cards, but if the Gunners were to show interest, Inler may respond favorably.
The composed and assured displays of the defensive midfielder allowed Alexis Sanchez and company to delight crowds on a weekly basis. There is no doubting that Inler's presence would allow the Arsenal attackers the same freedom.
This is no knock against Alex Song, as he has proven himself to be a tough tackling, midfield anchor himself. However, he does have a tendency to go forward too often.
While the other Diarra may come at a much cheaper price, his age and injury problems may negate his effectiveness.
Gunners fans should remember Lass from his short stint with Arsenal a few years ago. Though his appearances were few, Lass is familiar with the Premiership and the Arsenal organization.
Despite his overall lack of playing time at Real Madrid, Diarra still possesses the quality to be one of the missing ingredients for Arsenal success.
Lassana seems to be comfortable at Madrid, but the prospect of more first team opportunities, and familiar surroundings, may increase his interest in a return to the Emirates stadium.