Mikel Arteta says it’s too early to make decisions on the future of Arsenal defence with injuries and the club’s financial situation clouding the issue.
Following the news that David Luiz and Pablo Mari had signed an extension and permanent terms respectively, the Gunners could, in theory, start next season with nine centre-backs on the books.
Nine centre-backs, Mikel! Nine. That’s insane.
Let’s assume, that 2021 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner William Saliba is safe. That still leaves, youngster Zech Medley, Dinos Mavropanos, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and the bash brothers, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis. The final two both enter the final year of their contracts from tomorrow. But who is likely to go? It’s a tough decision.
One that Arteta needs more time to think about.
“We need to have the right balance in our squad,” he told his pre-Norwich press conference.
“We’ll assess that depending on what happens [in the rest of the season] but also with the injuries of Pablo [Mari], which is a long-term injury, with David, when we get the news [of his injury], and there are others.
“There are a lot of unexpected things that can happen, Calum is another one who has been out for four months and still has two, three, four months to go after a difficult cruciate.
“We need to know where we are at the end of the season and make decisions from there.”
Not knowing whether we’re playing in Europe coupled with likely hits to both broadcast and matchday revenue suggest we’re definitely going to have to put some players up for sale if we’re to fund acquisitions in other areas of the pitch.
As things stand the two Greeks, Sokratis and Mavropanos, seem the most likely candidates to go when the window opens but it wouldn’t be surprising if the English premium on Holding’s head made him a decent candidate. It seems strange to say that given his current form but Arteta has already warned of ‘tough’ decisions ahead.