In recent years, Arsenal's back four have had disastrous moments in the past; and a lot of those times it was due to center backs. Though it isn't uncommon for a defense to have momentary lapses, Arsenal's defense can't continue like this if the Gunners claim to be a world class team.
After all these disasters at the back, it is evident that the club needs defenders to patch up the defense. However, Wenger has only bought three center backs in the last year.
Laurent Koscielny, a fairly big buy, was purchased in the summer transfer window of 2010, and he turned out to be decent; sometimes solid, but mistake-prone. Another center back that he bought was Sebastien Squillaci, who was also bought last summer. Squillaci, however, turned out to be a disaster, making blunder after blunder and he isn't exactly popular among Gooners. The last purchase was Carl Jenkinson, a young Finnish center back, from Charlton; such a small buy for such a huge crisis.
I think that Wenger must buy more center backs, and here are seven whom Arsenal fans would like in their lineup.
Christopher Samba has been heavily linked away from Blackburn Rovers, and he is expected to go to a bigger club like Arsenal or Tottenham. However, the defender was enraged when an article in The Sun said that he wanted to leave the Rovers:
"The declarations about me are totally false - never said that. I'm a Rovers player and will never mention other clubs - it's disrespectful. Not happy right now."
He denied the fact that he wanted to leave, but he did say that he wouldn't be unhappy if he did end up going to a bigger club:
"A player who has no ambition to play at a higher level has made a mistake and chosen the wrong sport. I don't know what is happening with Arsenal because I am not dealing with it and it's not my problem. At the minute I am still at Blackburn but it would be a big lie if I told you 'everything is good and I don't want to play in the Champions League".
Gooners will be happy to see the big, tough center back help to lead the defense, as he is strong and commanding, while being an aerial threat.
Per Mertesacker is another player who has been heavily linked away from his club of Werder Bremen, despite their manager Thomas Schaaf standing his ground, stating that the German center back is not for sale. Even though Mertesacker is a target for several teams, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich among them.
And it's no surprise that he is a magnet for transfer talk; at 6'4" he is an aerial threat and an intimidating prescense, while also being strong and commanding. He was a starting center back for the 2010 World Cup Germany squad, and he was doing very well.
Mertesacker has played for Werder Bremen since 2006, after being transfered there from Hannover 96, another German club.
Per is sure to have a bright future, and is an ideal player for Arsenal.
A few years ago, Johan Djourou was showing signs of tremendous potential. Unfortunately Djourou got injured in a match against Wigan in April of 2009, and his knee required surgery. Therefore, Djourou missed out on a whole year of valuable practice and improvement, and only returned in the last game of the 2009/2010 season.
Since then, Johan has looked fairly solid on the pitch, not making too many mistakes, while challenging attackers very well. He played well against Barcelona, but unfortunately Djourou suffered from a shoulder injury on March 12.
When he's fit, Djourou can be an excellent player; very fundamentally sound and he has good knowledge of where he's supposed to be. Earlier this year, he was paired up with Sebastien Squillaci, which didn't work out (mainly because of the latter), and also with Laurent Koscielny; a very inconsistent partnership, as they were very good at times, but very sloppy at others.
The only problem with Djourou is the fact that he's very injury-prone, but as long as he can stay healthy, he is a solid defender for Arsenal to have in their squad.
Phil Jagielka has been linked mainly to Arsenal, but his name has been mentioned once or twice among talks about Tottenham.
At 28, Jagielka stands at 6'0", an average height for a center back, but he is very strong. He is an excellent tackler, has good knowledge of where he's supposed to be, and isvery good in the air; three important qualities that you need if you're a center back.
Jagielka started his senior career at Sheffield United in 1999, and he played there for eight years. Then in 2007, the Englishman moved to Everton, and has been playing with the Toffees ever since. He has been playing for the senior English national team in 2008, but was not selected by Fabio Capello for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
David Moyes is very keen on hanging on to his center back. Last summer, Everton rejected a 12 million pound bid from Wenger, and for some unclear reason he lowered his bid from 12 to 10 million pounds this summer. However, the Gunners are preparing for a double purchase of Jagielka and Juan Mata for a combined total of 34 million pounds.
When Arsenal acquired Thomas Vermaelen in the summer of 2009, the expectations weren't very high. However, Vermaelen dazzled in his first season, proving that he was exactly what Arsenal needed. He was strong, a threat in the air, and unlike many center backs, he showed that he could shoot very well from long distance, and even ended up taking some free kicks instead of Robin van Persie.
He also showed that he was one of the toughest in the Arsenal squad. He played a few matches with an injured wrist, and was never afraid to go into challenges. When Alexandre Song was asked who the hardman was in something called "Teammates," he replied with Vermaelen.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Vermaelen sat out almost the whole of last year with a recurring Achille's injury that doctors could not diagnose. Arsenal kept announcing that the Belgian would be back, but Vermaelen suffered setback after setback and only ended up playing in May of this year.
However, he seems fit now, as he is playing in Arsenal's tour of Asia, and Arsenal fans will be happy to have their best defender back.