Arsenal’s woeful run of form may leave with the departure of Unai Emery, but their defensive woes continue to haunt them.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos has looked hardly reliable since the conclusion of last season. Rob Holding hasn’t exactly been the same since returning from his ACL injury, making things worse. New arrival David Luiz has looked reliable sometimes but a regrettable signing at other times.
Long story short, the Gunners desperately need to sign a defender soon if they wish to plug in the gaping holes in their defense. But with the limited resources the Londoners seem to have, there aren’t many top players available.
However, according to former Arsenal man Martin Keown, Manchester United loanee Chris Smalling could be a great cheap option for them. The Englishman has taken the leap into Serie A very well and has quickly established himself as one of AS Roma’s best players.
“Smalling is doing exceptionally well – £13 million, the price they are putting on his head, that’s not enough,” Keown told BT Sport.
“Arsenal could maybe do worse than to take him.”
Smalling left United as his services were no longer seen useful due to the import of Harry Maguire from Leicester City. But rather than carrying on his underwhelming form from England, the centre-back seems to have suddenly improved, becoming a quick fan-favourite in Rome.
However, the former Fullham man has made it apparent he’s quite happy with life in Italy. Thus making it unlikely that he’ll make the switch to North London.
On the other hand, the Arsenal legend’s point could be argued against if one were to speculate the 30-year-old’s recent form is due to the less intense and competitive nature of the Italian league. And signing him next season would mean spending over £13 million on a 31-year-old which is not exactly good business.
Furthermore, with the appointment of Freddie Ljungberg, it seems very likely that youngsters from the academy will be promoted over making gamble signings on aging players.