The Impact of Calum Chambers’ Injury on Arsenal and their transfer business
By Jack Skinner
Arsenal have been dealt a huge injury blow as Calum Chambers ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, sustained in a 2-1 loss against Chelsea on Sunday the 29th. Chambers is expected to be out for anywhere from six to nine months, with a long rehabilitation journey ahead of him. The English defender has already had a successful surgery so this long road of rehabilitation begins now.
Chambers has not had an easy time at Arsenal, from struggling to get into the side on a permanent basis, to going out on loan to relegation threatened sides on two separate occasions. However, this season he has arguably been our best defender, playing predominantly out of position at right back and on occasions at the heart of our defence, his natural position. This is a massive dent in his career that will not help his confidence nor his progression; all the staff, players and fans must support him mentally through this tough time.
This leaves head coach Mikel Arteta with a lack of defensive options for the remainder of the season, so we can expect Arsenal to be more active in this transfer window than maybe originally planned. Arteta had already stated that he is seeking to strengthen the squad this January, but now it is a priority that a defender comes in to obtain that spot. With Holding still lacking full fitness and picking up little injuries here and there, this leaves us with only two senior centre halves in Sokratis and Luiz, both of whom have underwhelmed this season. We don’t need to mention Mustafi.
So what sort of centre-back should Arsenal be targeting this month? There are two potential routes the club could take. They could opt for a more experienced player who can make an immediate impact at the club as we look to solve our defensive problems in the short-term. This player would not need developing and would help the young central defenders coming through. With the likes of Holding, Mavropanos and the incoming Saliba likely to develop in the next few years, the club may not feel planning for the future with an additional young and undeveloped centre-back is necessary.
Jerome Boateng seems to be one Arsenal are interested in who fits this bill. It appears that Arsenal are intent in acquiring the 31-year-old, with the German out of favour at Bayern Munich. Boateng was once regarded as one of the best defenders in world football, but the ageing defender has been on the decline for a few seasons now and can no longer offer the same quality as he once could have. Despite this, there is no doubt that Boateng would offer great experience and expertise in the changing rooms and to the youth players; he is a proven winner, winning almost everything available to him for club and country. It looks as if Bayern are willing to part ways with the defender for less than £13 million, but his wages would appear extortionate for a club of our resources.
The other approach is of course, to go all out on a more promising player who can be developed and moulded into an Arteta side. With question marks over Holding’s long-term fitness and Mavropanos’ ability to devlop into the player they want him to be, they may look to find a long-term partner for Saliba. Whilst more of a risk and a more expensive option, this could obviously be more rewarding in the long-term.
Dayot Upamecano is a name being thrown around. The French defender is currently at RB Leipzig and is regarded very highly over in Germany as one of the best up and coming defenders. Arsenal and a host of other clubs have been monitoring Upamecano for a while now. Before the opening of this window, it seemed as if Leipzig were ready to let Upamecano leave for £40 million – it has now become apparent that they will not sell unless hit with a ridiculous offer. Personally, I feel Upamecano would represent the best investment, but it seems unlikely our reluctant owner would fund such a move.
Nathan Ake is another who has been linked. Ake has been targeted by a number of Premier league clubs this January. The Dutch international has struggled with injuries throughout the course of this season but has proven time and time again that he is a solid defender at Bournemouth and in this league. The Cherries are struggling this season and are currently in the relegation zone so will be looking to retain their best defender. Ake’s left footedness would provide something different to Arsenal, and could fit in nicely alongside Saliba in Arteta’s possession based system in the long-term.
Whoever we bring in, they can’t be any worse than what we’ve got.