Transfer run down… Arsene, this is how to plug a leaky Arsenal defence.

by & filed under Uncategorized.

Sometimes someone send in an e-mail that totally catches you by surprise. This morning I’ve got a guest post from Graham Yates about the leaky defence and the best way to go about plugging it.

A super read, enjoy… Geoff will be back on at 0900 with the Villa match preview.

Arsene was given another reminder of the recurring defensive frailties as we lost to Sporting Braga 2-0 in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League Group H match to leave us with a bit more work to do to secure safe passage to the round of 16. Interestngly, as I write this, in our current predicament we are only likely to draw one out of these four Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Schalke & possibly Lyon.

Granted, injuries haven’t been kind to The Prof, but irrespective of the sidelined Thomas Vermaelen , surely even he is aware that sooner rather than later he will have to find some experienced centre halves which, as well as TV5, includes 30 year old (was once good, but now not so good ) Sebastien Squillaci and 25 year French novice Laurent Koscielny , not to mention Johann Djourou who has been the most consistent and impressive of the three.

Wenger has been linked with moves for Bolton’s Gary Cahill, Brede Hangeland & Phil Jagielka all with Premisership experience, but was quoted a price he was not prepared to pay, as usual. You know how it goes, £4m for Schwarzer, but refuses to pay more than £2.5m, I mean, words fail me.

I have picked out five other centre-halves I feel AW should look at landing. They are all within budget & also age range so I think they are viable options as they are at smaller clubs than Arsenal and just on the verge of long international careers. All the ingredients are there.

Fazio doing a Cesc

Federico Fazio (Argentina)
Club: Sevilla
DOB: 17.3.87 (23)
Height: 1.95cm (6”4)
Value Euros: €7.5m to €10m

The Argentine with Italian citizenship is a complete defender with huge potential. He replaced Squillaci on his departure to the Emirates and appears to have a fantastic future in the game. Fazio can play as a central defender, on the left flank (Bye Gael!) and, like at the end of the 2007/8 season, as a defensive midfielder (Bye Denny!).

He is extremely strong and has very good heading ability. He is also quite fast and mobile for such a big defender, and his tackling ability is superb. His still could do with improving his technique and aggression though. Yet to make his debut for Argentina, but has experience at Under 20 & Under 23 level and has come through Sevilla’s youth ranks though has suffered a few injuries in his early career. We all know that Wenger likes a rough diamond, he is one.

Amorebieta racing Denilson

Fernando Amorebieta (Spain)
Club: Athletic Bilbao
DOB: 29.3.1985 (25)
Height: 1.92 (6”3)
Value: €10m to €15m

The Spaniard (though born in Venezuela) is an immensely strong central defender with excellent positional sense. He is fast and tall, which is a tough combination for opposing strikers to come up against. He has super-strong tackles and great vision for a centre back.

Amorebieta is a versatile defender, who can also play at left-back (Oh dear Gael, not looking good is it?) , and if he continues improving at his current rate, he will be a top, top player. Made debut @ 20 and has played 144 times in the Spanish Primera Liga to date which makes him a consistent Bilbao 1st teamer. Likely to replace ageing Puyol, Capdevila & Marchena and join Pique & Albiol in the Spanish squad after being 1st called up by Del Bosque in August 2008.

Rami after being nipple tweaked in November

Adil Rami (France)
Club: Lille
DOB: 27.12.1985
Height: 1.90 (6”2)
Value: €7.5m to €10m
Only ardent Lille supporters saw the potential of the Frenchman until then-coach Claude Puel gave him his first Ligue 1 minutes on the first day of the 2007-08 season after being bought from Fourth Division Fréjus. By the autumn, Rami had already become an essential component of the Lille defence playing in no less than 104 games scoring 7 goals. He is an extremely stubborn defender, with excellent positional sense and superb distribution and like Vermaelen has free kicks in his locker. His performances caught the eye of current France coach Laurent Blanc, and Domenech before him. Now has six international caps, and Rami looks like remaining at the heart of the France defence for years to come.


David Luiz (Brazil)
Club: Benfica
DOB: 22.04.1987
Height: 1.88 (6”1)
Value: €20m to €30m (Wenger has this sort of money we know that, though value rather inflated as Chel$ki & Etihad City are very interested)

The Brazilian is one of the most promising centre-backs in the world, with Internazionale his likely destination at this stage. Luiz is strong, fast and intelligent, and has the ability to move the ball with grace. He is also blessed with a great leap and good heading abilities and even played primarily at left back in the 2008-2009 season at Benfica. Luiz has such potential that even an injury-plagued two years he suffered from 2007-2008 shouldn’t scare off Wenger. Post World Cup he is now a regular with Brazil and now has 4 caps replacing the ageing and outgoing Roma defender Juan.

Too cool...

Benedikt Höwedes
Club: Schalke
Dob: 29.02.1988
Height: 1.87 (6”2)
Value: €7.5m to €10m

The German is a tall and aggressive centre-back, who is also quick and very good in the air at both ends of the pitch. He started to feature in the 2007/08 season and has been at the club since 2001, but really began to show his abilities the following campaign. Howedes is a versatile player, having plied his trade as a defensive midfielder as a youth player, while also possessing the capability to play as a full-back so much so that he has signed a new deal to June 30th 2014. With more experience, the 22-year-old should get even better and has already made 72 appearances for Schalke and has German caps at all levels from Under 18 through to Under 21’s. He is also right footed which which would compliment the left of Vermaelen, something which Wenger would find attractive. Of the five he looks the most likely to join.

45 Responses to “Transfer run down… Arsene, this is how to plug a leaky Arsenal defence.”

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  1. Dave

    Nice article. Kosh and Squ have not been up to par. TV is fine and JD is a good back up. So yes, as you have pointed out we need 1-2 better CBs.

    But note that no matter how strong our line up is, we continue to be hampered by tactics that are unbalanced and we tend to attack leaving ourselves open to a counter attack. The best CBs in the world will not save you all the time in each counter attack. The system must be tweaked.

  2. Rohan

    In addition to Howedes, I’d also put a shout out for Heiko Westermann. Not only is his name class, but the guy is the defintion of German steel

  3. arsenal fan

    i think flappy is still not good enough if we get a great gk like stekelenburgh or anyone of international quality our defence can hold up flappy doesnt give confidence to defenders otherwise i will be suprised if we are hardly in the top 10 let alone top 4

  4. chozzer

    Personally I can’t see how buying a new CB and slapping them into the current set-up is going to work.

    We need a complete overhaul of defensive tactics for the whole team.

  5. yangkamp10

    One of the reasons for our leaky defence is actually our impotent laboured attack!
    While its clear we need to get some serious physical strength back there and some leadership – I look at our games against Chelsea, City, Spuds Pool…We hardly let in a boatfull did we? Shameful second half meltdowns aside.
    I think one of our problems is that our laboured attack means we often have to commit 6-7 players to “break a team down” with over ellaborate passing sequences and then get hit on the break. Even when we’re 2 up and cruising…
    I’m not so sure when it comes to names, a speculative case can be made for almost anyone…but clearly the English signature everone wants is Cahill’s. But as the price of signing him balloons to £20m, signing Sakho(15m) Mexes(12m) Luiz(see above) seem more like value for money. My personal choice would be Sakho.

  6. yangkamp10

    Ethangooner. I know where you’re coming from. But that isnt going to happen before the summer, if at all. And were are a few hours from possibly going top of the league. I remember in 07-08 we were again in striking distance from taking the title in Jaunary. But didnt have a stiker worthy of the title. Everyone was crying out for a CF to be signed but Wenger dicided to rely on Bentender. And we know how that one ended.
    We are there again. We had minus net spend this summer…Come January we should be again within striking distance. Wenger has a chance to show his metal and regain our faith by signing 2-3 players to take us over the finishing line.

  7. bosun

    As much as these guys are good prospects and look very solid and reasonable I beg to differ. There’s a reason why spanish defenders rarely make the switch to the premier league, they’re not fast and always wait till the attacker is close b4 puttin a foot in. Fazio is quite interesting, but I still believe premier league experience is vital. Hangeland OR Jagielka….its not by height or by build but outside the top 4 clubs,these are the best out there. If we had gotten Jags we’d be singing a diff tune today.

  8. geoff

    Should have bought Richard Dunne. Big strapping no nonsence defender. Will cost the odd mistake but exactly what we are missing.

  9. ahk13

    ..but lucio looks more likely to join..he’s old but he’s a fucking battle having sol back again!! and with everything benitez touches turning to shit, he’ll pretty likely want out…just like 😀

  10. patthegooner

    I am happy with Vermaelen, I class him as 1st choice

    I am also happy with both Djourou and Squillaci however I view both as squad players and not good enough to regularly start for a club that has such high ambitions (or do they?)

    Kosser I think is rubbish. Just when we needed a ready made class CB, wenger does it again and buys someone that he thinks can turn into a world beater. FFS the guy is 25 and does not have an international cap at any age level. Does that not tell you something.

    Sadly though, we have just bought the two average defenders in, so I cant see Wenger going out and strengthening us in that area. He is a stubborn old fool and to do so would show that he fucked up spending a reported 8-10 million on such shit that is not good enough for PL football.

    In fact, I would wager that we will see no transfer activity at Arsenal in Jan. Wenger will stick with Flappy and the clown, afterall, if he was to replace them, surely it would have happened in the summer. Denilson will be here until he quits as Wenger fails to see that he has the acceleration of an aircraft carrier and the positional sense of a lemming.

    RVP will be fit in Jan so need to buy a striker. He will then get injured at home to Everton on the 1st feb and be out for the season, as will Bendtner or Chamakh.

  11. Wenger the Liar

    “You are entitled to your opinion but for me Koscielny, Squillaci and Djourou are great defenders.” he said.

    “When you don’t win your games people always find problems with the team,” he said. “But is it the main problem we have? I’m not convinced.

    “If you look at the number of shots we’ve had and chances opponents have created you don’t come to that conclusion. We lost the last two games. We should have beaten Tottenham by five or six.”

    Wenger 100% cunt.

  12. Chippy

    Chozzer has pretty much summed it up bringing in another centrehalf is not really going to change much the whole unit needs overhauling and tactical defensive awarness installed that includes all the players in front of them, We could have maldini in this side and still concede inept goals as the whole side dosent defend and until it does we will leak like a tap,

  13. Naz

    Although I do think that we need replacement defenders, the easiest way to plug a leaky defence is to get a defensive coach and actually put some emphasis on the teams art of defending in our training methods.

  14. Wenger the Liar

    He should especially explain to Arsenal supporters how he can’t win one single little trophy since 2005. Instead of speaking about Real Madrid, Mr Wenger should speak about Arsenal and explain how he lost 2-0 against a team in the Champions League for the first time. The history about the young kids is getting old now. Sagna, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Song, Nasri, Van Persie, Arshavin are NOT kids. They are all top players.” – Jose Mourinho.

  15. patthegooner

    Well said Naz,

    WTL, Wenger is really starting to grate at me with his bullshit comments. He needs to learn to shut the fuck up and take defeat on the chin and be honest with himself and the football world about why it is going on. I hope Pat Rice is buying him a big fuck off mirror for Christmas.

  16. Seb

    Frankly, we could buy the best back four in the world, and within a month they would be a bumbling calamitous shambles. Defenders are only as good as the training they receive.

  17. patthegooner

    Again WTL, agree.

    Why did he feel the need to spout off about Real Madrid. I understand these questions get asked in Press Conferences, but it was all over

    Get your own house in order first Arsene.

  18. patthegooner

    Same here WTL,

    And I am not that confident today

    desptie being shit, Kosser will come back in for the improving Djourou. Clichy faces a late fitness test and in Wenger’s eyes a half fit Clichy is still french so gets the nod over the superior Gibbs.

    our Midfield 3 will include Denilson and Song, and I expect Denilson to continue his form of being responsible for at least one goal a game. Personally I would like to see us revert to 4 in midfield today and play

    Theo, Song, Nasri, Arshavin with RVP and Chamakh up front.

    Thank fuck Diaby is out, otherwise it would have been Song, Denilson and Diaby!!!!!

    We will once again play with one striker though, have plenty of possesion and score the odd goal but ultimately lose.

    Wenger will go with

    Sagna, Squi, Kosser, Clichy
    Song, Denilson, Nasri
    Theo, Arshavin

  19. Wellington

    Arsenal no Arsene’s game plan is known to all and sundry. It’s all out attack.Is it any wonder he continues to let Arsenal get beaten?He blames teams for playing anti soccer with counter strike.
    His counter game is laborious and time wasting and the players are afraid to shoot for fear of god.
    By the new yaer ,we will know whether the gunners can still challenge.If not let him do a Monaco at any other big team. He will find out these teams aint that patient.Then he will be fired.
    Btw it’s no use beating Partizan 10-0 not 1-0.Whether the gunners finish top/second is immaterial.Once the ko stage resumes it will be intersting to see how Arsene fares against the big guns especially Mourino.
    This guy is not called the so for nothing.He effectively stifled the unplayable Messi.

  20. Cavalry

    Good analysis from everyone regarding our goalkeeper and defensive frailties. But FFS we have been saying exactly the same things for the past five years.
    Go back to the Invincibles. A very skilful team but they also had balls and soul in abundance.
    But the present squad although they have loads of skill have no balls and no soul. But then they were bought by a board and manager who have no notion as to the mix that it takes to make a winning team. This is why we find it so hard to grind games out, stop other teams from playing, dig in and showing some leadership. The Invincibles could do all these things and more. They understood the importance of being tough in every sense of the word. No bullying here. They would have chewed Drogba up and spat him out!!!
    If you get a chance today just watch the All Blacks do the Haka before the Welsh game. The All Blacks the most skilful rugby team in the world but watch how they signal their intent to destroy before the game even starts. That’s what our beloved Arsenal are missing. No balls, no soul.

  21. leon

    to me the 2 new defenders are not bad but see them as squad defenders not quite on the level of verm,iam not ready to say the utter shite at all this there first season in prem they much improvement on what he had before,having said that i think wenger needs to bring in someone extra specail in that position,dm position i am not that worried about the fact is delinson is nothing more tha a a squad player and once ramsey gets his fitness backup he will be ahead of him,song ramsey wilshire nasri can all play there and not mention the young boy fringpong who at tender age 18 is a beast its shame he got injured becuase he looks realy good as well,i think wenger be looking for at least 1 cb but i am hoping he gets 30 goal striker as well

  22. Steve Palmer

    If you want a defence that works in the Premier league, look no further than the best defences in the league,look at the teams we have played and has given us the most trouble,look at the record of these teams,and the makeup of the best,then model our defence on these players its not rocket science

  23. arsenal4ever

    Top post. Wenger even said he is happy with his defenders. It is really boring seeing Wenger acting in transfer market. A club like Arsenal should look at world class. And not only french!!!!

  24. Graham from London

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for sticking the boot in mate, FYI I did post this to alot of other sites as well before I got your email about how things work, so I apologise again for any inconvenience caused to all @ leGrove & to you Pat. At the inital stage I sent it to all it had not been posted by any site. I do this for free so there is nothing in it for me at all. I live and learn though but for some reason you think i have done this on purpose to annoy you.