Why Arsenal Should Grab The Chance To Sign Manchester United’s Chris Smalling
Arsenal have surprised many by striking deals for Henrikh Mkhitaryan in exchange for Alexis Sanchez along with Borussia Dortmund striking sensation Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But their defence still remains fragile as neither Shkodran Mustafi nor the youngsters like Calum Chambers and Rob Holding have stepped up on the occasion of partnering Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the Gunners backline.
Koscielny, now 32, is reaching the twilight of his career rapidly and Arsene Wenger is expected to revamp the defensive line before bidding his farewell. He, however, had a failed attempt to bring in West Bromwich Albion centre-back Jonny Evans on the winter transfer deadline as his £12m bid for the Northern Irishman was turned down by the Baggies boss Alan Pardew.
Wenger is thus expected to look elsewhere in the summer and may reignite his interest in Manchester United’s Chris Smalling who is unlikely to be in Jose Mourinho’s plans from next season onwards.
If reports are believed to be true, the Red Devils will listen to offers for the English defender who is now valued around £25m and Arsenal, being in the desperate urge of reconstructing their backline, should explore the option of adding someone of Smalling’s stature who holds vast Premier League experience.
Also, Evans will be available for as less as a fee of £3m if the bottom-placed Baggies’ get relegated and both of them will be ‘value for money’ deals in such an inflated transfer market. Both Smalling and Evans, however, are not expected to solve Arsenal’s defensive woes as the Gunners require someone more promising and emerging talent who will serve the purpose of the Gunners backline for years to come.
Reports were suggesting a move for Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar, who might be Wenger’s topmost priority despite the Slovakian’s £62m valuation. Signing an emerging talent who is performing persistently at the top level will be another strong statement of intent in spite of their likely absence from Champions League football next season.
Nevertheless, experience matters in Premier League and although Chris Smalling’s decaying form might see him as a squad player, he still has years of football left in him and a move to Arsenal might just be the inception of a fresh start to achieve his career objectives.
Smalling, meanwhile, was disastrous against Newcastle United last week and was at fault in United’s 1-0 defeat away at St James’ Park. He was lucky not to concede a spot-kick despite fouling Dwight Gayle inside the box but a blatant dive in his own half earned the Magpies a free-kick which, eventually, was slotted home by Matt Ritchie following a defensive lapse.
With Eric Bailly’s return to action, Smalling has slipped down the pecking order and is tipped to be omitted from their squad in summer. Arsenal should grab the opportunity of tying down Smalling for a cut-price deal and then look for some other names to sign further defensive reinforcements for the upcoming campaign.