Why signing Smalling would resolve Arsenal’s defensive woes
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown while talking to BT Sport (h/t Daily Mirror), urged Gunners to sign Manchester United reject Chris Smalling.
The three-time Premier League winner had a message for Arsenal’s new manager, with the club still in pursuit of a new replacement for Spaniard Unai Emery, who was sacked last week following a string of poor results.
It has been a season to forget for the Gunners, who were pushed to eighth in the table, after failing to register a win in any of their last 7 matches.
One of the main reasons for Arsenal’s poor slump of form this season has been a weak defence, which has conceded 21 goals – one more than what they have scored.
A competitive and tough centre-back during his playing days, Keown was quick to react to the situation and wanted to bring it under the notice of the new manager, who would soon take over the reins at the Emirates.
And for Keown, none other than United reject Chris Smalling could possibly strengthen a shaky Gunners defence considering the current situation.
With a price tag of around £13million on his head, Smalling could be a bargain buy for Arsenal, who spent a significant amount during the summer, Keown added while talking to BT Sport.
Meanwhile, Smalling, who is currently on a season-long loan at AS Roma has witnessed a revival of fortunes after leaving Old Trafford in the summer.
The former Red Devils centre-back is in the form of his life and has been rock-solid in the Roma defence under new boss Paulo Fonseca.
The Englishman has made 10 league appearances so far and has scored 2 goals and assisted once for the Italian outfit.
This season, he has played a total of 13 matches and kept 5 clean sheets, thus repaying his manager’s faith in him.
Meanwhile, United are believed to have had talks with Roma over a permanent move for the player, who is deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, according to Daily Mirror.
Taking this into consideration, Keown is of the opinion that Arsenal should make use of this opportunity and land the in-form defender to resolve their issues at the back.
The Gunners have had a rather unstable defence, with Emery constantly shuffling the backline in accordance with the requirements of the game.
They currently have five centre-backs in Sokratis, David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos. Summer signing Luiz has looked a mere shadow of his past and has been inconsistent so far. The same has been the case with Greek defender Sokratis as well.
Meanwhile, Holding’s season has been marred by injuries and has struggled to find enough game time.
Mustafi, on the other hand, seems to have completely lost it and is still erratic, as he has been in the past. Mavropanos, however, is just 21 and lacks enough experience.
With a list of ongoing woes troubling them at the back, Arsenal are in dire need of some defensive reinforcements if they really wish to climb up the points table.
Arsenal are seven points short of a Champions League berth (at the time of writing) and need to act fast if they wish to qualify for the European competition once again.
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With their defence looking clearly unstable, Arsenal spilling some cash on the in-form Smalling could prove to be an appropriate short-gap solution to resolve their troubles at the back. Moreover, the 30-year old seasoned campaigner seems to be Arsenal’s best bet at the moment considering his market value.