Transfer Talk-Center Back

Wednesday was a big night for Arsenal with their triumph over Udinese to earn a spot in the Champions League group stage. This berth comes with a payout of £25 million and enormous prestige that should help Arsene Wenger as he works to strengthen the squad in the remaining seven days of the transfer window. On Tuesday I looked at some options on how to bolster Arsenal’s central midfield after the loss of Cesc Fabregas. With Samir Nasri now a member of Sheikh Mansour’s mercenaries it is even more important that reinforcements are brought in to the club.

Some reports in the media are saying the Arsenal have approached Real Madrid about Kaka and I believe that would be an excellent move but today I want to focus on another area of the squad in need of fortification, the center back position. Currently the squad has three primary center backs: Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, and Johan Djourou. 19-year old reserve captain Ignasi Miquel has already been used against Liverpool but he lacks the necessary experience to be used on a regular basis. Alex Song has deputized at center back in the past but moving him would create a hole at defensive midfielder. Sebastian Squillaci was signed last year from Sevilla but his on-field performances last year were not at the necessary level to play for Arsenal and he is no longer a part of Arsene Wenger’s plans. I think everyone at Arsenal, Wenger included, knows that three center backs is not enough for a long season that includes sixty plus fixtures, especially given the inconsistent fitness of all three of our current center back options. Here are center backs that Arsenal could sign before the end of the transfer window.

1. Gary Cahill-Bolton-The 25-year old England international has one year left on his contract at Bolton and has been linked with Arsenal for more than a year. Skilled in the air on set pieces and a solid contributor on the offensive end with twelve goals in 113 games at Bolton, Cahill would bring Premier League experience and could easily assimilate into the squad immediately. Bolton has been holding up the completion of any deal by demanding £17 million for a player with only a year left on his contract. This price is over the odds, even for a player the caliber of Cahill, and it is no surprise that Arsene Wenger is unwilling to pay Bolton’s price. Cahill has declined a new contract with Bolton so this price may drop as the transfer deadline approaches and if this does occur I would expect Wenger to pounce.

2. Chris Samba-Blackburn-The 27-year old Congo international would be another possible addition to the Arsenal squad. He would bring a commanding presence to the Arsenal defense that would be especially helpful in the Premier League where many teams look to exploit Arsenal’s lack of height on set pieces. Samba has expressed his ambition to play in the Champions League, which Arsenal could offer unlike Blackburn, and would be available for around £12 million. Arsene Wenger has been unwilling to pay this fee which he feels is an overvaluation but Samba’s contract with Blackburn has a sell-on clause that forces Blackburn to pay Samba’s former club Hertha Berlin a portion of the transfer fee. Samba is another player who could have to miss part of the season for the African Cup of Nations so although he is a good player it would be in the club’s best interest to first explore other available options.

3. Phil Jagielka-Everton-The 29-year old England international is another name that has been linked to Arsenal for quite a while. A very-skilled player who has done quite well for Everton he would certainly improve Arsenal’s squad but I don’t think Wenger will end up signing him. Everton want £18 million for the player, and they have a reputation for being very stubborn in negotiations, that is quickly approaching 30 and Jagielka lacks the height of Cahill and Samba so he would be unable to really help Arsenal improve their set piece defense.

4. Raul Albiol-Real Madrid-The 25-year old Spanish international is the ideal signing for Arsenal if Bolton don’t drop their price on Gary Cahill. He has fallen down the pecking order at Real Madrid and is considered surplus to requirements by Madrid manager Jose Mourinho. A versatile player who can also play right back and defensive midfield, the six foot three Albiol would be an excellent signing for Arsenal because he has the skill and composure on the ball that Wenger looks for in his defenders to go along with his aerial prowess. It is reported that he would also be available for around £8 million which would put him right in the Arsene Wenger price range.

I will discuss possible signings at left back and striker along with evaluating any new signings that are made before the deadline in upcoming editions of Transfer Talk that are coming soon.

Guest Post: Korey Carter
Follow @KoreyPCarter

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