Arsene Wenger has admitted that he has tasked his scouts with finding a new defender to purchase in the January transfer window, and insisted that they were working very hard to try and determine a suitable candidate.
So far this season the Gunners have struggled to cope with injuries at the back, and the uncertain form of Per Mertesacker - last week compared to a rhinoceros by Wojciech Szczesny’s dad - has done little to plug a leaky defence.
Problems at the back
Having consented to the departure of both Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna this summer Wenger was placed under immediate pressure to ensure that his team was solid enough to challenge the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea without falling short due to defensive woes.
However summer import Mathieu Debuchy has played far fewer games than he would have wished through injury, and Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs and Calum Chambers have also sat out of matches thanks to differing complaints.
As such the acquisition of a stout centre-back - one who can handle the rigours of Premier League football - is said to sit top of Wenger’s transfer priorities list. When asked during this morning’s press conference ahead of the weekend’s difficult trip to Manchester City, the Gunners boss confirmed such.
Coming courtesy of the Daily Mirror’s John Cross, Wenger said his scouts were “working very hard” to find a defender. Though not mentioning any names the 65-year-old opened the door for new waves of speculation, with a host of players having already been linked with the Emirates Stadium.
West Ham star Winston Reid is one who appears to be on the verge of securing a move to a big Premier League club, with his contract set to expire in the summer. Tottenham Hotspur are also in the frame for his signature, though he may be convinced to join Arsenal’s cause thanks to the benefit of Champions League football.
There’s also Saint Etienne captain Loic Perrin, who has supposedly been in talks with the north London giants. His club have set today as a deadline to get the deal done, though there are other options should Wenger not push things through in time.