Arsenal's need for defensive reinforcements has been well chronicled since the end of last season, but as it stands only 19-year-old Carl Jenkinson has been added to the defense, which struggled badly at times last season. With the departure of Gael Clichy to Manchester City it could even be said that Arsenal's defense is in a worse position than it was last season. Of course Arsene Wenger has described Thomas Vermaelen as being "like a new signing", as he missed almost all of last season through injury.
As the summer progressed Arsenal was linked with various players such as Christopher Samba, Gary Cahill, Per Mertesacker and Phil Jagielka. It would seem the only player Arsenal actually made a bid for was Jagielka, but Arsenal is not prepared to meet the valuation Everton has placed on the player. According to arseblog today the player is happy to stay in the North West with Everton, and it looks like Arsenal will have to search elsewhere as a result.
I'm not sure if Jagielka would have been the man to make a difference to Arsenal's defense, but he would certainly have been a quality acquisition. He's a current England international and his organizational abilities at the back are well known, even if he is only six feet tall. If he is the player Arsenal decides they have to pursue, they have to pay more than they think he is worth.
With the capture of Jagielka now looking less likely, the Daily Mail have reported that Arsenal will be sending their chief scout to watch Scott Dann play for Birmingham City against Derby County on Saturday.
Whatever about Jagielka being possibly the defender Arsenal need, there is simply no way that Dann is good enough.
I've seen him play a few times for Birmingham, and he suits their style of play perfectly, as he is severely limited in ability. In the summer of 2008 Wenger signed Mikael Silvestre on a two year contract from Manchester United, and last summer he signed Sebastien Squillaci on a three-year contract from Sevilla. If the story has any credence to it at all I can only assume that Wenger has lost his ability to judge central defenders. If that were true though how did he manage to sign Vermaelen in the summer of 2009.
Dann was part of a Birmingham team that was relegated to the Premier League last season and from what I saw of him there was nothing special about him. He's 24-years-old and measures 6'2, which would probably make him effective from set pieces. Surely if Arsenal decides to buy a player who is effective from set pieces then Samba is the man at 6'4 inches.
Wenger has so often stated that he will only add to the squad if he can find players of exceptional quality who will improve his team. Gervinho certainly looks like he might be in that bracket, and Jenkinson is young enough to possibly enter that category at some stage too, but I just cannot believe Dann could ever be an Arsenal player.
There are much better defenders out there for Arsenal to chase, and I sincerely hope the Mail have got it completely wrong.
The suggested fee of €10 million should be enough of a stumbling block if Arsenal genuinely is interested in Dann, as it's a completely ridiculous fee for a player of his standard. He has had only two seasons in the Premier League, and he missed quite a few games through injury in those two seasons. In my opinion, Arsenal needs to make a defensive signing to make other clubs stand up and take notice, and Dann is not the man to do that.
Arsenal are in disarray at the moment, as the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are far from certain with the new season only 10 days away. There's talk of Cesc simply refusing to play for the club, as he wants to be sold to Barcelona but they won't meet the asking price. Nasri won't sign a new contract and will be able to leave for free next summer.
The possible signing of Juan Mata from Valencia looks less likely now, and if Cesc and Nasri both leave Arsenal will have a huge hole in their team. The continued wait for both players' futures to be resolved has meant Arsenal are unsure of what money they have to spend, and they need to put an end to the waiting. Final decisions have to be made about both players, and they have to be made immediately for the good of the club.
When those decisions are made Arsenal will need to buy a quality defender. However Scott Dann is not the defender they should buy.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.