Wenger rules out further centre back signing for Arsenal in the summer
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said that he will not sign a further defender in the summer, having recruited two so far this season.
Although he let Thomas Vermaelen join Barcelona, he recruited the versatile Calum Chambers and then Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal in January.
Wenger was quoted by the British media as saying: “Four is enough”, eluding to the amount of centre backs he has in his ranks.
The Gunners, who have a great chance of finishing second this term, and of also retaining the FA Cup, are 5/1 fourth favourites with Coral to win the Premier League next season.
Following his insistence that he won’t be signing anymore centre backs, Wenger has said Chambers, who arrived from Southampton for £16m is improving all the time.
“He has had some difficult games, but that’s part of gaining experience and the learning process”, Wenger said of the 20-year-old.
“It did teach him, he’s an intelligent boy, he thinks about his game after – how he could have blocked him [Jefferson Montero] better, how he could have stopped the crosses and to read the game of your opponent is an important part for a defender.”
Wenger has also been impressed by the youngster’s versatility, and willingness to keep trying, even after mistakes. He has been used in a variety of positions this term including right back and centre back.
When he signed, Wenger suggested that he could be utilised as a holding midfielder as his career progressed, because he shows an ability to anticipate patterns of play.
“The fact he is intelligent and reads the game well, the fact that he’s more at ease in the middle [means he suits being a centre-back].”
Brazilian Paulista, at 24, could be the long-term replacement for Per Mertesacker. Ex-Gunners legend David Seaman has been impressed with the centre back, and has said he reminds him of a cross between Martin Keown and Des Walker, having shown him enough that he could solve the previous problems that Arsenal had in defence.
“Yes, I think he can solve that problem [in defence],” Seaman said. “The thing is with [Per] Mertesacker we don’t know how long he’s going to go on for. I understand that he’s retired from international football which is giving signals of what’s going on in his mind.
“With Paulista, he reminds me of a cross between [Des] Walker and [Martin] Keown, that’s who he reminds me of! I don’t know why! The way that he plays and looks just reminds me of that, but he’s had a few injuries and it will take him some time to adjust to the Premier League, because it does.”
The 51-year-old went on to say that Paulista needs time to acclimatise to the Premier League, though assures that he will come good.
“All the players who came in when I was at the club, they were brilliant players all of them, but took a season to get used to the Premier League, because they don’t realise how fast and physical it is,” Seaman added. “He’s had a few niggles and stuff and he’ll settle in, and he’ll be a better player for it.”
Considering that Wenger recently also stated that his main priority in the summer is keeping his squad together, and that he won’t be entering the market unless a very good player becomes available. However, the Frenchman knows the importance of continuing to strengthen, so a couple of top signings shouldn’t be ruled out yet.