Could Per Mertesacker Be The Answer To Arsenal’s Prayers?
How many Arsenal fans have been waiting for the signing of a new Center Back? Answer: Every single one of them! For much of this off season we’ve heard this and that about Christopher Samba and Gary Cahill. Some would put their two cents in about how we should be after Vertonghen, and Sakho and while both would be great for the club its not looking likely for us to be after them.
A week ago Bolton were in the press saying, ‘we haven’t received any bids for Cahill, if you want him get it done!’ An open invite to get the England International. It appears that Chelsea is even looking to pick up the defender who has a release clause of 17 million. Samba on the other hand has openly claimed that he wants to be an Arsenal player and Blackburn have acknowledged that but are still keen to hold on to the giant. Do we really need a center back though?
Vermaelen will look to have a completely healthy year and is looking for a partner in the defense. Djourou really put in some good work in last year especially in mid season. His most memorable performance in my opinion against Chelsea as we dominated the entire game and Djourou shut down Drogba like he was a nobody. Djourou needs to work on a few things though, especially his marking during set pieces. It killed him many times this year as he has trouble tracking players and beating them.
Koscielney is another who put in some impressive performances as well, but he also put in some not so great performances. What is weird is that Kos played well alongside Djourou, but looked like he’s never played the position before when next to Squillaci. Kos will be best remembered last year for two things: His impressive performance against Barcelona in the first leg, and his part in the blunder that caused us the league cup. Kos will also be looking to improve in a few areas especially his strength. He is great at tackling, especially when the play is in front of him. Balls that went over the top and he had to chase he struggled with though. His set piece defensive ability could improve as well.
Here comes the problem though, Sebastian Squillaci…Started off the season not too bad and helped get Djourou back up to speed and fitness. Squillaci lost confidence though as the season went on and made more and more mistakes. He turned out to be compared to Silvestre. Our number 4 is not good enough to be in the Arsenal team and this is where we must reinforce, whether that means bringing in a real superstar and pushing Djourou and Kos back, or promoting Bartley to that spot.
So with the need for a new Center Back and Arsenal having difficulty finding one, we’ve come upon our most recent link in Per Mertesacker. The large German only has 12 months left on his contract and has been mulling over a move to the Premier League. Mertesacker could be vital to Arsenal’s title run with his incredible aerial abilities and his leadership. With two real leaders in the back and two very different center backs, we could have the best defense in the EPL.
Now many of you are thinking, Mertesacker has been crap! I know I’ve had these arguments already with people and what we have to realize is that this is a TEAM game. When Mertesacker has players like Silvestre playing around him, and honestly not that good of a midfield in front of him, it puts extra pressure on Per and it left him exposed many times. I’m not excusing him from some of his mistakes but you have to see that you can have talent, but in a team that doesn’t play as a team it can really hurt your game.
When I played I was a Left Back and one of our center backs was slow as balls, took too much time on the ball, didn’t have the best decision making and was really short although he’s an awesome person. His partner in defense was 6 ft 5, fast, strong and had good anticipation and was a good player, but his partner often left him with much to clean up. Mertesacker I believe had a similar experience and it ended up being too much to handle. The guy has so much experience playing in two world cups and the Euros as well as his Champions League experience. One bad year doesn’t mean we shouldn’t sign him when he’s had many good years as well.
Now imagine him in an Arsenal jersey, where the team is disciplined and we have players who do their responsibilities and Silvestre is no longer in the team. Imagine him playing beside Vermaelen and just dominating teams with their teamwork and skill. Not only this but two leaders both from the center back spot. It’s something I don’t think Cahill, or Samba could do as well. I do think he would be the right signing for the club despite having a poor year last year, but a fresh start may be exactly what he needs.