Arsene Wenger will not be short of absentees on Premier League opening day when his side take on Liverpool at the Emirates, it’s a situation that is becoming all too familiar for Arsenal fans.
Defensively, the Gunners may be without their first choice centre back pairing with Laurent Koscielny recovering from Euro 2016 after reaching the final with France and Per Mertesacker facing up to five months out with a knee injury.
That leaves Arsenal with Gabriel Paulista, Callum Chambers and Rob Holding as potential options to fill in at centre back. However Wenger has admitted that he will look to sign another defender before the transfer window shuts and the Frenchman is under pressure to find top quality.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) 30 July 2016
Rob Holding recently completed a £2.5 million move to the Emirates Stadium after an impressive breakthrough campaign at Bolton Wanderers, where he won player of the season. The 20 year-old has already started to showcase his ability and talent on Arsenal’s pre season tour in the USA, where he even managed to score in the clubs most recent friendly victory against Chivas Guadalajara.
Alongside Callum Chambers, Holding has huge potential and many fans would like to see the young Englishmen forge a partnership together but that could be a risk so early in the season. The future of Arsenal and England’s defence may look bright, but Wenger confirmed he will delve into his transfer kitty in order to find an experienced and proven player to fill in the gap left by Mertesacker, with all the fingers pointing at another German in the shape of Shkodran Mustafi.
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) 28 July 2016
Formerly on the books at Everton, Mustafi has kicked on since leaving Goodison Park in 2012 and has since enjoyed a spell at Sampdoria before joining Valencia in 2014. At just 24 years-old the German international has gradually made a name for himself at the Mestalla.
Although without a consistent centre back partner he and Valencia have endured a difficult season. However Mustafi did impress for Germany at Euro 2016 after coming into the side following a Jerome Boateng injury, also managing to score in Die Mannschaft’s group opener against Ukraine.
The Gunners are also in the market for a new striker with Lyon front man Alexandre Lacazette heavily linked with a move to North London, but Wenger must act quickly if either will line up against Liverpool in just over a week’s time.
At least one gap has been filled in the Arsenal squad, new signing Granit Xhaka is already showing his class in pre-season and looks to be the answer to Arsenal’s lack of steel in holding midfield. But with opening day looming Wenger and the Arsenal board must act quickly to add more, or they will risk falling behind their title rivals.