Thursday, September 28, 2023

Is This The Centre-Back Who Can Solve Arsenal’s Defensive Woes?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

After the recent defensive crisis with Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker being out injured, Arsene Wenger has dipped into the transfer market in search for a center back. The Gunners have opened negotiations with Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi as their primary option and reports indicate that there’s a possibility of the deal being a successful one. There’s also another player who is viewed as the alternate option and that player is Fabian Schär.

Schär is a 24-year-old defender who plays for Bundesliga side 1899 Hoffenheim. He moved to the Bundesliga last year and impressed in the German League starting 20 games. The young defender started his career at FC Wil 1900 in 2009. After three years, he moved to FC Basel to play his trade in the Swiss Super League. Having made 72 appearances in the league over the next three years and winning three consecutive Swiss Super League Titles, the defender switched over to the Bundesliga. Schär is still a young defender who needs to learn a lot. He has been an established player for his country playing in most of the games, just as he did in the Euro Cup 2016, scoring their opening goal of the tournament.

Arsenal at the moment needs a player at the back who will bring in experience with quality. Schär has got potential but is still not tested enough having spent most of his playing career so far outside Europe’s top 5 leagues. The defender needs to improve on his consistency alongside his aerial ability. If he makes the move to North London, then installing him straight into the first team would be a risk. If he’s to take a risk then Wenger already has some options internally to try out rather than spending another £8.6 m for another defender not ready to command a first team place.

Wenger did buy Rob Holding this summer who is a very talented defender having a big potential.  He will be integrated into the team slowly as the successor of Mertesacker in the future. Also, there’s Calum Chambers, who is a quality player but has been short of confidence recently. The duo of Chambers and Holding combined together with great effect for England at the Toulon tournament 2016. At this moment, Mustafi seems to be a perfect choice, with his previous performances and skillset.  The German defender is also of the same age as Schär but is a far more experienced campaigner having the advantage of spending three years in England with the Everton squad in his early years. Fabian Schär is a good player who will develop into a pretty good defender in the future but he is not the one Arsenal need right now.

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