Arsenal Transfer Prospects: 5 Emergency Full-Backs Arsene Wenger Can Target
Arsenal have no full-backs—a statement that is both alarming and surprising. However, following severe injuries to the Gunners' recognised right- and left-backs, Arsene Wenger will enter the hectic Christmas/January winter period without his routine full-backs.
First-choice right-back Bacary Sagna has not featured since October following a broken ankle sustained against Tottenham and is not expected to return until February. Deputy Carl Jenkinson has endured a persistent back complaint since early November and is still just under a month away from a return.
England international Kieran Gibbs has not featured since October thanks to a stomach and hernia issue and the left-back is still awaiting a month of rehabilitation before returning to full fitness. Finally, to worsen the situation, Wenger announced Brazilian left-back Andre Santos, who has been in impressive form for a number of months following his deadline-day move from Fenerbache, will undergo ankle surgery and will be absent for three months.
This last few weeks have seen Wenger resort to using predominant centre-backs such as Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou on the right flank while both Igansi Miquel and Thomas Vermaelen have fulfilled duties at left-back.
Whilst the quartet are capable of performing in those roles, none are ideal, as Wenger's game plan thrives on the speed and attacking prowess of the flank defenders. Furthermore, these predominant centre-halves have a tendency to lack the speed to sufficiently contain the quality wingers in the English Premier League.
Wenger also has the option of promoting youngsters such as Nico Yennaris, Jernade Meade and Daniel Boateng from the highly touted Arsenal reserves. However, during a hectic period of 10 matches from now until the end of December, the Frenchman will desire and require a recognised full-back to compensate the injury woes.
With the January transfer window approaching, Wenger has the option of acquiring an emergency full-back on loan or a short-term deal which will enable greater depth and security. It is a prospect Wenger will surely consider as this period will make or break the North London giants' campaign.
Bleacher Report establishes five full-backs Arsene Wenger could target on an emergency deal.
5. Paulo Ferreira: Chelsea
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An experienced and composed right-back who has played an integral role in the dominance and success that has arisen for Chelsea this century. Ferreira is an efficient and energetic defender who has amassed over 200 appearances for the Blues, including UEFA Champions League experience.
The 32-year-old has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge under the new reign of Andre Villas-Boas and is on the market for January. The Portuguese midfielder could be secured by Wenger for a cheap price or signed on a short-term loan deal to implement experience, leadership and depth to the Arsenal defensive line.
Despite his age Ferreira is still a quick and strong full-back who can cover either flank and provide threatening crosses and runs. The former Porto ace would be an intelligent and potentially effective option for the Gunners' current situation.
4. Lamine Kone: FC Lorient
A young and promising defender who can cover every position in the back line. Kone has begun to develop rapidly with Ligue 1 outfit Lorient, with whom Arsenal enjoy a strong relationship. Wenger recently acquired Laurent Koscielny from the Brittany-based club with young gun Francis Coquelin enjoying an impressive loan spell with the Les Merlus whilst Joel Campbell is currently on loan too. Arsene Wenger also recommended former striker Jeremie Aliadiere to Christian Gourcuff.
The 23-year-old has size and speed to ensure he is more than capable of handling the physicality and pace of Premier League football. Kone would be easily acquirable on loan and has the potential to become a powerful, renowned defender.
Furthermore Kone is a natural attacker who would gel efficiently into Wenger's quick, French style of play. Primarily a right-back, many believe Kone can become a star in the centre.
3. Pedro Botelho: Rayo Vallecano (on Loan from Arsenal)
The Brazilian has spent the last five seasons on loan due to work permit issues but is now eligible to play in England. Bothelho was signed in 2007 from Brazilian club Figueirense and has since impressed on spells with Spanish Segunda sides U.D Salamanca, Celta Vigo and FC Cartagena, combining to amass over 100 appearances since 2007.
Currently with La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, the 22-year-old is a versatile, powerful and energetic presence who is equally effective in attack and defence. Primarily a left-back, Botelho can play on the right and as a threatening winger.
The Brazilian is experienced, tenacious and consistent and deserves an opportunity at Arsenal. Wenger has the option of calling the current loan deal with Vallecano short and granting Pedro Botelho his long-awaited Arsenal debut.
2. Winston Reid: West Ham
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The New Zealand international has long been considered a promising talent following emerging emphatically as a teenager with Danish side FC Midtjylland. Following a promising 2010 FIFA World Cup with the All Whites, the 23-year-old was linked with a move to Arsenal but a deal with West Ham materialized.
Reid enjoyed 12 appearances, seven in the Premier League, last season as the Hammers endured relegation. This season, the Kiwi has become a frequent member of Sam Allardyce's squad, however Wenger could be able to secure Reid on loan by offering targets such as Sebastien Squillaci, Ignasi Miquel and Ryo Miyaichi on loan. Furthermore, Henri Lansbury is currently on loan at the Boleyn Ground.
Reid is an imposing yet quick and strong defender who can play in the centre but is equally emphatic at right-back and potentially in the midfield.
1. Jose Bosingwa: Chelsea
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The Portuguese full-back is set for a January move from the Blues and Wenger has the funds to acquire the 29-year-old. Once considered one of the best wing-backs in Europe, Bosingwa has had his share of injury woes in recent years but has still maintained his power and pace.
The Portugal international is an experienced and quality presence who possesses a thriving attacking game. With over 70 appearances in the English Premier League for Chelsea, Bosingwa would loom as a quality purchase who can also fulfill more attacking wing roles. Furthermore, Wenger could aim to secure the former FC Porto ace on loan.