Why Watford should plot a January swoop for Calum Chambers
Arsenal have great competition at the centre-back position this season. Unai Emery will take some time to decide on his preferred central defensive partnership.
Despite the departure of Laurent Koscielny, the north London giants have Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers as options in central defence.
Calum Chambers started alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos on the opening day of the season against Newcastle, helping his side to a 1-0 win – as well as helping Arsenal match their clean sheet record for the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign.
But Emery surprisingly dropped Chambers for the next two games against Burnley and Liverpool, handing new signing David Luiz consecutive starts. The Gunners did edge past Burnley but they were defensively all over the place in the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
Luiz, in particular, was shocking against the Reds and made a couple of schoolboy errors which he should have been avoided. Emery’s decision to drop Chambers after a solid opening day performance certainly hasn’t been vindicated.
Chambers has now been at the Emirates Stadium for five years. He is still only 24 and has certainly improved over the last 18 months, as evident from the loan spell at Fulham in which he was their player of the season.
The three-cap England international may relish the healthy competition at Arsenal but the reality is that he finds himself behind the likes of experienced duo Sokratis and Luiz in the pecking order.
Back in 2016, the Express had claimed that Watford were interested in signing Chambers on loan. But a move didn’t happen as the defender opted to join Middlesbrough on a season-long loan.
Considering the 24-year-old’s current situation at Arsenal, the Hornets must reignite their interest and plot a January move for him.
Watford have lost all three of their league games this season, with the latest of those defeats coming against West Ham United on Saturday.
That has put manager Javi Gracia under severe pressure and the 3-0 win against Coventry City in the Carabao Cup second round clash should come as a boost.
The Spaniard worked wonders at Vicarage Road last season, guiding the club to the FA Cup Final and achieving a record number of Premier League points. But the task looks difficult this time around and he has to get back to basics to return to winning ways.
Despite being aware of his team’s defensive problems, Gracia signed just Craig Dawson from West Brom. And the lack of quality in defence has been evident as the Hornets have leaked seven goals in three league games so far.
Gracia has to make do with the options he has now and help his team start getting points. Once the winter transfer window opens, he should go for Calum Chambers.
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Lapses in concentration and a worrying habit of getting bullied in the air have undermined Chambers’ attempts to become a fixture at the back for Arsenal.
But a season long-loan at Fulham has helped him a lot in ironing out his flaws, but the ex-Southampton man needs to play regularly to fulfil his potential. It doesn’t seem like happening at Arsenal and that could tempt Chambers to leave the club in January.
Comfortable on the ball, quick across the ground and a precise tackler, Watford would make a solid long-term investment if they can convince Chambers to swap North London for Vicarage Road.