Arsenal draw up their three-man shortlist for a new centre-back in January

Arsenal have been thrown into a bit of a defensive injury crisis in recent weeks.

The Gunners lost Rob Holding to a season-ending knee injury against Manchester United, while Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal are still a long way off full match fitness.

Both Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are suspended for Arsenal’s visit to Southampton on Sunday as well.

Konstantinos Mavropanos is also nowhere near making his first-team return.

Koscielny will start against Qarabag tonight, meaning Stephan Lichtsteiner and Monreal could lineup at centre-back against the Saints – Mohamed Elneny is also an option.

Even a team so bereft of goals like Southampton will be licking their lips at those defensive options.

As such, Unai Emery and his management team will have to dip into the January transfer market to sign a defensive reinforcement.

And the Mirror have revealed what the Gunners’ three-man shortlist is for the winter window.

Manchester United’s Eric Bailly and Chelsea’s Gary Cahill are two surprising options from the Premier League, while the other is Real Valladolid’s Fernando Calero.

The Spaniard is said to be available for £10m due to a release clause.

At 23-years-old, he would perhaps represent the most sensible option of the three, with Cahill now 32 and a shadow of his former self.

While Bailly is only 24, his loss of form under Jose Mourinho has been incredibly worrying and he would now represent a huge risk – he wouldn’t be cheap either.

In his latest press conference, Emery said on the issue: “I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think if we can take one player to help us at centre-back it’s a good option.

“Koscielny coming back is very important for the team and we are going to see how Mavropanos is improving with his injuries.

“Nacho Monreal can play in this position. But I prefer to use, if we can, specific centre-backs in this position.”

It could be an interesting January for Arsenal.

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