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The Heart Of Arsenal’s Defence: Thomas Vermaelen, Johan Djourou & Chris Samba

chris samba blackburn defender

Vermaelen is set to return at the start of February which must be sweet music to the ears of Arsène Wenger. A sentiment which is sure to be shared by Arsenal fans, who find their club in a good position at this stage of the season, even without the presence of their strong-commanding centre-back who was injured in September playing for Belgium. It is the question of who will partner Vermaelen at the heart of the Arsenal defence which is of great interest and importance to the success of the Gunners’ season, with Johan Djourou making a successful return, the relative failure of Koscielny and Squillaci to perform at this level, and rumours of Christopher Samba joining the club this January.

Johan Djourou has shown in recent games to be the reliable centre-half Vermaelen needs alongside him, displaying all the right attributes needed at the top level. He is strong in the air and quick on the ground and reads the game very well, not to mention being confident on the ball too. Captain Cesc Fabregas admires his team-mate for coming back so well, saying:

“I really admire how he’s handled his comeback. The boss has treated him really well, with caution, and he’s now playing fantastically for us.” Going on to say: “Hopefully he can keep it up because I think that, with the way we play, we need a centre-back like him; strong, good on the ball, quick, making his presence felt on the opposition striker.”

This leaves the question as to whether Arsenal really need to add another centre-back to their squad. Given Vermaelen’s absence and the possibility of any complications delaying his return, Arsène Wenger has hinted that he might have to sign an extra centre-back in the January transfer window, and Christopher Samba of Blackburn Rovers could be available. Arsène Wenger has advised fans:

“not to expect miracles in January; a high number of people have played in Europe so wouldn’t be able to help us in the Champions League, while clubs that have good players don’t necessarily want to sell them”.

However, Samba has publicly declared he no longer wants to be a part of Blackburn and has reiterated his desire to leave; and of course would be available to play in European fixtures. The 26-year-old has been stripped of the captaincy at Rovers after saying he wanted to leave the club and looks set to leave in the near future.

He is rumoured to favour a move to the Emirates, and would fit the bill perfectly for the Gunners, as a physical, influential and experienced Barclays Premier League defender. However his adaptability to the way Arsenal play, whether he can cover full-backs and contribute to possession as often as he would, has to be an important factor to take into consideration when Arsène Wenger makes this decision.

Which two players would you like to see at the heart of the Arsenal defence? Let us know below….



  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Heart Of Arsenal's Defence: Thomas Vermaelen, Johan Djourou & Chris Samba | Football Talk --

  2. lakony tonny peter)

    January 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Wenger should get samba as djouru n vermalean have proved to be injury prone…

  3. Abdulsalam

    January 11, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I’ll lik samba to pair thomas.just try and sign samba


    January 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

    And Laurent Koscielny, the most techinically gifted of all Arsenal centre backs. The moment he will catch his rythm, he will be among the very best.

  5. dw

    January 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Tv5 is not injury prone ,this is he first injury
    Some one who cant put three games back
    To back is injury prone.

  6. ruelando

    January 11, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Ver is not injury prone, his injury has been a mystery to the arsenal doctors, what i fear is that he might be rushed back and then he starts to become injury prone. Kos and Squid have done fairly well far better than expected, JD has been excellent, lets use Miguel to fill the gap if we are not going to buy samba

  7. Fred Nyakiamo

    January 11, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Djorou and Verminator

  8. Vincent

    January 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Samba because he has Premiership experience and has not played in the Champions League

  9. swikrath

    January 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Samba might have played in the PL but has he ever been a part of a high defensive line?Does he have the pace and the positional awareness?i think it would be a bad move for us but given that both squillaci and verm are out and we ve only 2 left he could be considered but only as a back up . I dont understand how some kids are ranting on us signing him just because he has got a physical presence

  10. Nii

    January 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    arsenal dont need samba he is not good

  11. DW

    January 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Koscielny IMO is an outstanding CB. He only lacks strenght other than that he is pretty decent in one on one situations. He is not bad in the air either and with more time in the EPL he will be outstanding.

    Squillaci for me seems like he just cant keep up with the pace of the game and shy’s away from responsibility. I would like wenger to sign a proven EPL CB. Jags, would be my preferred option but he has a history with injuries.


    January 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    koscielny has not been a failure, he is actually a very good defender and his partnership with djourou has proven that … what doesnt work is his partnership with squillachi … as much as i think samba or cahill would be a good signing neither would be happy to play second or even third fiddle to what are now our establish center backs of Vermalen, Koscielny and Djourou … the search goes on

  13. gunnerfan

    January 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I would like to see them bring in Cahill. He is a solid strong CD but could move into the holding defensive midfield possition to spell Song or Wilshire when not needed in the back line.

  14. JOHN

    January 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm



    January 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm


  16. toba

    January 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm


  17. Jab

    January 11, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    VT5 partnering JD at the heart of the defence and kosher hasn’t been that bad he needs time and could be used as back ups together with Samba

  18. gooner92

    January 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    i think samba would be a great buy!
    we would have 2 pairs of like for like partnership
    samba and vermaelan
    djorou and konscielny

  19. Apashe

    January 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm


  20. dw

    January 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Tv5 has had a set back just

  21. truegunner

    January 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    wht i kn is any1 will b wayyyy better then squillachi is was a bad buy,i dont understand how u allow Galas to go then u brought in another old weak ass def he sucks i hate watching him play i get scared anytime he is with the ball, he was a gr8 player be4, he is just old slow n bad decision maker in dat case any1 brought in will b way better

  22. Yommex

    January 12, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Chris Samba is going to provide the strength that Arsenal players lack at the back. His height (6’4″) is way above any current Arsenal defender and this will be of advantage especially when it comes to defending against set pieces where Arsenal have conceded the most goals (11) in the league this season. He also could be a handful in the opponents box for set pieces. A utility player as he started out his footballing career as a CF. Played in that role for Blackburn towards the end of last season scoring some timely goals in the process. His signing will guarantee at least two trophies this season.

  23. Gvanderwiel

    January 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    samba is to clumbsey , cahill is overrated , subotic is the best option! if hes to expensive try benedikt Howedes , future of the german defence ! my first choice is dortmunds’s matts hummel , partner of subotic , but think hes worth 20 mill so TO EXPENSIVE! we should get howedes for 10 mill , subotic i think is 15 mill

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