Arsene Wenger has been resistant to signing a center half this summer, but he might be forced too now as Per Mertesacker was ruled out for five months with a knee injury after injuring himself in Arsenal’s 1-1 friendly draw against Lens on Friday
There is no indication at this stage as to whether the 31-year-old Mertesacker, who had been in line to become club captain, requires surgery to correct the damage but his absence leaves Arsene Wenger with a selection headache ahead of the new season.
Laurent Koscielny has not returned to training yet following Euro 2016 and is unlikely to be ready for the clash with Liverpool on the opening weekend, as his last game for France was on July 10 and Wenger wants his players to have a four week summer break.
That would leave Gabriel and Calum Chambers, who ended up playing as a right back in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Lens, as Wenger’s only senior defenders. The Gunners did just sign Bolton defender Rob Holding, but it is asking a lot for him to step right into the Arsenal lineup.
Defence is not the only area that is causing Arsene Wenger sleepless nights these days. Striker Olivier Giroud has not yet returned to training after the Euros while Alexis Sanchez will miss the Gunners USA tour as he recovers from an ankle injury picked up during the Copa America. Back-up forward Danny Welbeck is expected to be sidelined until February with a knee-injury, leaving the possibility of Theo Walcott leading the line when Arsenal play Liverpool.
These injuries might force Wenger to alter his transfer plans, but he has made it clear Arsenal will only spend big money ‘if the right player becomes available’. The caveat in that statement is that they become available at price that Arsenal finds acceptable.
The shortage of available player is driving the cost up every year and Arsenal keep missing our because they don’t adjust to the increase in prices. Three seasons ago Arsenal thought £32m was too much to pay for striker Gonzalo Higuain. Today he goes for £92m