3 Answers to Arsenal’s defensive conundrum
Arsenal’s impressive 22-game unbeaten run was snapped at Southampton over the weekend. The Saints ran out 3-2 winners in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first game in charge. The Gunners turned in an insipid display on the south coast and were deservedly punished.
The defeat also came at a cost for the Gunners. Bellerin limped off at half-time whereas Lichtsteiner too picked up a knock towards the end of the game. The injuries to the pair add to an already populated treatment table consisting of the likes of Kolasinac, Mustafi and Holding. Moreover, the likes of Monreal and Koscielny have just returned to fitness.
The games are going to come thick and fast over the festive period and Arsenal might just find themselves short in the defensive third. Though they won’t be able to bring in any reinforcements before the year ends, they could certainly look at a few options that would solve their short-term problem while also providing a sound option in the long run.
Through the lens of this article, we would look at three defenders who could be the answer to Arsenal’s defensive conundrum.
#3. Kostas Manolas (AS Roma)
The Greek defender was once courted by the Gunners during his time at Olympiacos. According to some reports, Manolas was tantalisingly close to a medical with Arsenal yet the deal never materialised. However, the Greek found himself packing his bags for Rome the same summer.
After his arrival in the Eternal City, Manolas has been a rock at the back for Roma. Blessed with immense strength and aerial ability, the Greek rarely gets out-muscled. Additionally, his trait of getting on the end of crosses, both offensive and defensive, have made him an indispensable commodity at Roma.
The Gunners currently find themselves left with only three recognised centre backs in Koscielny, Mustafi and Sokratis. However, the poor injury record of Koscielny and Mustafi means that Arsenal might just have to shore up their defence in order to maintain their charge for the top four.
The centre-back signed a four-year deal in December 2017. However, if the opportunity to play alongside Sokratis in the Premier League pops up, he could be tempted to make the move to North London.
Though Manolas won’t come cheap, he has displayed his fantastic abilities regularly to warrant the huge transfer fee.
At 27 years of age, he is entering the peak years of his career and Arsenal should go all out to ensure that those take place at the Emirates.