Arsenal haven’t won a piece silverware since 2005 when they lifted the FA Cup. It is argued by pundits and fans alike that the reason for this trophy drought is down to not having a commanding presence at the heart of the defence, and no real established quality between the sticks.
Arsène Wenger now faces one of the most important summer transfer markets of his Arsenal career. If he is prepared to go out and splash some cash on a commanding defender and an experienced goalkeeper, then he may be able to look forward to a season of success. But if he sticks with the likes of Manuel Almunia, the fans may start to lose patience with the French mastermind.
Gary Cahill, 25, has become one of most reliable defenders in the league, and the England international is now attracting interest from the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. If Arsenal are prepared to fork out the reported £20m asking price for the Bolton man, they could secure his services for many years to come.
Another central-defender that is on Wenger’s radar is Ajax’s promising star, Jan Vertonghen. The Belgian has struck up a great friendship with the fit again Thomas Vermaelen from their time playing in the national team, and coming through Ajax’s notorious youth setup together.
With the emergence of the talented Wojciech Szczęsny into the first team, the task of finding a top quality goalkeeper now holds less importance than filling the hole in the defence. But with Szczęsny still only 21 years of age, a more experienced keeper may be needed to take the pressure off the youngster. The likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Pepe Reina have been linked with the club recently, but Wenger will need to spend heavily on transfer fees and wages if Arsenal are going to secure the services of arguably the world’s best goalkeepers. If Wenger sticks to his usual skinflint philosophy and isn’t prepared to spend money, he has a few cheaper options that he could explore. Experienced England internationals such as Paul Robinson and Chris Kirkland are proven Premier League keepers and they could certainly reassure the Arsenal defence.
Chris Butterworth JR