Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Arteta biding his time over fate of nine central defenders

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. 

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Mustafi, Papa and Mavropanos I’d say. Might get 20mil for the 3 of them.


You wouldn’t get twenty pence for those clowns.


On the other hand, we are to bare bones in our midfield. Really really thin. Something has to be done there soon as well.


Sokratis and Mustafi are the two who would fetch the highest transfer fee…I really think it’s time for both of them to move on now. I think, aside from Medley, that the others have all proven themselves enough, at least as much as the “bash brothers” have. This would make the most sense for our club.


Holding might command a higher transfer fee if I’m honest. I’m just thinking it would be tough to sell him without proving himself since his injury.


Why sell him? He’s already showing what a good central defender he is

Naked Cygan

Martin, will you watch your first Arsenal game tomorrow? You should really watch one.


hes not , quite poor actually,maybe it was the injury maybe hes just crap but not at all any good esp premier league level– shouldve gone for pedigree when we had the chance eg cahill or evans

Public Elneny

Yeah it would be very short sighted to sell him now
One decent season season, whether it’s with us or on loan at a bottom half PL side (don’t), and he could either fetch £30m+, or be back as part of our long-term plans
If we sell this window we’d be lucky to get £10-15m, and we could probably sell for a similar amount next summer even if he has a mediocre/disrupted season. We’re not really risking much if we don’t sell now, unless we have major cashflow problems


Holding should be given another chance, was’nt he captain(vicecaptain) a few years ago?

I rather sell Sokratis and Mustafi. Keep the rest and start Saliba and Holding, and then rotate between Mari And Chambers.

Zech Medley, Mavropanos as backup and David Luiz as backroom staff.


Spot on, Oslo Gooner. Sokratis just isn’t good enough. As for Mustafi, there isn’t a galaxy far away enough from the Emirates.


You’d sell Holding?! Out of all that lot?! ??????

Naked Cygan

Let’s be honest, none of our center backs are top 4 quality. They are OK, but nothing special. We need quality, intelligent, and no nonsense defenders who are not injury prone and strong as a bull. We should buy a center back from Wolves, Sheff utd, Burnley, or Palace. Someone who has already played in the Premier Leauge, so adjustment time is not an issue. Rob Holding was a good buy, not too expensive, but still a lot to learn. Someone like Rob Holding, but with more experience.


I agree buy the best CD from each club. May not make us stronger but will make them weaker…


And where do you two super agents propose to conduct the transfer negotiations with all these clubs for their best centre halves? The Marigold Tea Rooms? Jeez, give me strength…..

Daniel Vozandych COYG

Yeah 9 terrible centerbacks cant be satisfied about that init, but well we need to ship off real quick. Sokratis had to move David Luiz has to move, Chambers has to move. We just need to splash the cash on really quality centerbacks otherwise next season is gonna be harsh. Id even give Zech Medley a go looks strong abit of pace left footed with Mustafi or Holding at the back come on Arteta were already out of everything besides the FA Cup so the league just play youngsters and Tie down Balogun. Thanks

Cultured Determination

I really like holding. Hope to see him partner saliba next season. Chambers can be back up utility centre/right back. Sokratis and mustafi must go. Also dont know wtf luiz is in the club, and mari should be like 4th choice.


i guess if I could pick 5 to stay it would be Mari, Luiz, Saliba (because they all signed recently, Holding, Chambers. Medley on Loan. Sell Sokratis, Mustafi and Dinos.
I think my starting two would be Saliba and Holding. I really thinlk we should just cut the fat and concentrate on young players at this stage.
We need serious surgery this summer!


Saliba might not be the defence Messiah
I strongly believe arsenal defence solution will come from within the current crop of defenders. This reminds me of the season ozil was signed. Everyone expected wilshere to have a break through season but Ramsey the rejected stone became the arsenal Messiah that very season


Not really suggesting Saliba is going to be anything. But since the other defenders we have are appalling, we should give the younger players a go.


Many people here opined that we should start with Saliba and Holding….I don’t think they will be successful especially in the initial phase…Saliba lacks experience as he played only a total of 16 matches in this season and only played a handful of matches before that. Holding havent performed anything near great so far…So starting both would be a mistake…We should sign a great defender and start him along with Mustafi/Luiz initially and thereafter ease in Saliba in the second defender position… Mavraponas has performed decently in Bundesliga 2 nd division…So he could continue as backup…It would be better to… Read more »


Kudos for the Peep Show reference, Blogs!

Papa Large, big shot in North London

Seeing as though in our wisdom we decided to keep Luiz, you would have to try and flog off Mustafi and probably big Papa (I like his shit housery if nothing else).

He’s getting on but Luiz in front of the two CBs from time to time could be a stop gapagainst less mobile teams. With 9 CBs to choose from it’s still not a defence that inspires huge confidence. A big part of that is the porous midfield too.


Mustafi is actually not doing that bad
The guy deserve some praise
He has been our best defender this season
He has the highest clean sheet in this team

Papa Large, big shot in North London

He’s been better this season. I still loathe his shit the bed and then wave his arms at the nearest Arsenal player thing he does.

Spanish Gooner

This is an area where we’re numbers heavy, with no particularly “must keep” options (bar Saliba) so I’d imagine it makes CBs an ideal option to raise funds for Raul/Mikel. With that in mind, I think Chambers, Holding and Mustafi would be the most lucrative sales, so I expect 2 of them to leave this summer. Mavropanos will probably leave for pocket change, and then medley is likely to depart on loan. Whether anybody else leaves probably depends on whether we qualify for Europe – there’s no real need for 4+ senior options if we’re only playing the premier league

Tanned arse

For me, mavropanos is an absolute keep. If he’s over his injuries then this is the guy we partner with saliba and develop that partnership. He has the physicality. Quick powerful and instant turn of pace. Very dominant in the air. Composed and good with his feet. Last few times he came back in the team for us he looked lost. Like he was over trying or just hadn’t played enough and felt pressure to get back in favour. He was very young and still is. Coach the positioning and how you want him to function because this boy could… Read more »


Excellent assessment


Arsenal need a quick fix at the defence not a try and error approach


Interesting. I don’t think we should sell him either. At least give Mavropanos another year out on loan if he’s not quite ready i august. He has done quite well in Bundesliga 2 from what i’ve heard.


sell them all!!!
I know this is not a helpful strategy, but i’m just expressing my frustrations and at the averageness of our current squad particlarly midfield and defence


If only we could sell them all. Thin air could defend better than that lot put together.


The obvious candidates to go are Socrates and Mustafi – Luiz you can look at as cover for Chambers next season – who it will take 4 months + time to get sharp again, wouldn’t expect too much from Chambers next season (like Holding this).   That leaves us with Luiz, Saliba, Mari, Holding, Mavrop and Medley.   Saliba will need time to bed in and adapt, and Medley still needs time and experience too – would be ideal if we qualify for Europe so we can give him Caraboa Cup and easy group stage European ties to get some… Read more »

Martin Nelly

luiz (unfortunately), saliba, mari definites to stay
One out of mustafi and holding to stay (either sell musti or loan out holding)
chambers to stay by default until he recovers
sokratis, mavropanos definites to leave
medley to be loaned out


Nine Centre Backs. And only two, maybe three at a push (one as yet untried) who have a clue about defending. What. A. Mess.

The Spoon

Be interesting how many players actually leave this summer and who will buy them. Looking at selling a 2 or 3 CBs, I think Lacca will go, and I think Kolasinac and ANM will go. So we’ll need a backup LB, 2 midfielders minimum, 1 DM and one attack minded. Possibly a striker. That’s a lot of business to get done.


Going by Mustafi’s form since Arteta I’d keep him, at least allow him run down his contract especially if he won’t fetch a decent fee now. He does deserve Arteta’s doubt benefit. If he continues with this Stellar form for a year running then he deserves renegotiation or leave for free, whatever, he’d have paid back for those horrible years in that case.

Runcorn Gooner

It’s all about balance and players who combine well together. Holding was good alongside Koscielny.
Surely Arteta can get 3 of the 9 to gel and cover possible injuries/suspensions.


Holding was immense alongside the BFG. Ask Diego Costa 😉


So many and yet so few.


It’s not that so complicated. To break it down; of the nine defenders: two are injured/not fit for at least the first half of next season(mari and chambers) so we rule them out. Two are entering their final year and since we will not renew their contracts, we will sell them( Mustafi and sokratis). That leaves us with five; Luiz, holding, mavropanos, saliba and medley. Actually this did make me see why they renewed Luiz contract plus he agreed a pay cut, not so bad after all. Considering that we are using a back three these days, our premier league… Read more »


Football has changed. Arsenal has not. Arsenal will continue to flounder around 7th(?) to 12th for the next years to come and if nothing changes, will get relegated soon after that. Either the owners start wanting to create a big team again, or sell the club, these will be the only way that Arsenal rises up again. Anyway, it is good that i have lost much interest in football(getting older and have new interests), so that i am not going to “support” any other team, but stop being that interested in football. Arsenal will become like an ex, that when… Read more »


And yet you post on an Arsenal website?


Your mention of relegation would normally have had me ridiculing you, but such is the uncertainty currently surrounding this team, it’s no longer unthinkable and a danger to be taken very seriously indeed if those responsible ( and by that, I mean the players) don’t start bucking up their ideas soon. We haven’t had to address the possibility of the R word since the mid 70’s. That’s a depressing indicator of how bad our defence have become.


You said you have lost MUCH interest in football due to getting older and with other things occupying your interest?
But you find time to reel out such long comment on football matters and especially Arsenal. So please reconcile it!!

Arsenal is a RELIGION… Isn’t it??


Why is no body talking about signing Upamecano

Guendouzi Oueddei

Mavropanos is not as bad as people think he is. He’s doing very well on loan, he was just very unlucky with injuries and playing for a manager who didn’t trust/like him. Wenger would have made him a regular. For me I would keep him, he’s strong, he can play with the ball and still very young. Him and Saliba can come in and take up the places of Sokratis and Mustafi. Between Chambers and Holding one has to go, but won’t mind keeping both provided that Luiz is only here for one more season and to help with the… Read more »


I don’t see mustafi being sold because he is the constant CB on Arteta’s teamsheet. With Mari and saliba still unproven at the premiere league, I think arsenal won’t sell any current 1st team defender from holding, Papa, mustafi because they are the available CB that can actually play and are fit. Macro, chambers and Zack can be loaned out to get more game time.


More Mustafi? You’re not a descendant from a Medieval torturer, are you?


Saliba and Mari will ideally be the starting CBs in the next campaign. Chambers is more dynamic than Holding and can play across the back four. I see us offloading Holding, Mustafi, and Papa as the most logical and financially sound decision.


Agree with everything you say, but I would be inclined to keep Rob Holding.


quantity > quality

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