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