Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Arsenal Looking To Engineer A Move For This English Defender: Is He Worth The Outlay?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Chris Smalling is still facing an uncertain future at AS Roma as the Italian club looks to sort out their defensive department. Arsenal are among the clubs waiting on the wings, should the Giallorossi fail to qualify for the Champions League, which could give the Gunners a massive boost in the pursuit of Smalling who is reportedly valued at £25 million.

How does Smalling fit in at Arsenal?

Smalling’s potential addition to Arsenal could really stack their defensive unit. The club already have a host of defenders, including Sokratis, David Luiz, Calum Chambers as well as Shkodran Mustafi. They also have Pablo Mari signed on loan, with an option to make the move permanent in the summer while William Saliba is set to return from his loan spell from St. Etienne next season.

That being said, Chambers has struggled with injuries while both Luiz and Sokratis have failed to put in consistent performances at Arsenal. Although the former has improved under Mikel Arteta, he still isn’t a reliable first-team option if the Gunners are to make themselves a strong contender for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

That’s where Smalling could come into the fray. The on-loan Manchester United star could compete with Luiz and Sokratis for a place in the first-team. Saliba and Mustafi, too, are potential options for Arteta.

Can he outperform the current crop of Arsenal defenders?

If Arsenal are to invest in a new defender, they must make sure that he will be a better option than all the current crop of defensive options Arteta has at his disposal. Smalling, in that regard, does look like a perfect option. The English international has enjoyed a lot of success under Paulo Fonseca, impressing the onlookers with his leadership and ability to read the game. Indeed, he has notably averaged two interceptions per game while winning 3.7 aerial duels.

Luiz, in contrast, has mustered only one interception per game despite his aggressive style of play. Mustafi has fared a little better (1.6), but his statistics should not be taken into consideration, given his lack of game-time.

Moreover, it is also fair to point out that Smalling has a considerable amount of experience in English football. He has made 219 appearances in the Premier League – more than any other Arsenal defender.

He is, therefore, a less risky option in the market and considering Smalling’s recent success at Roma; he could emerge as a leading figure in the Arsenal backline, should he join the Gunners this summer.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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