Arsenal’s search for players have seen several linked in the different positions that the club intends to strengthen this summer. The pointer so far has seen focus on the attacking areas of the squad with the likely signing of Alexis Sanchez. Yet very few have been heard about central defenders that have been linked to the club during this period under review.
The club had just three conventional centre halves last season, and most of the matches were played by Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, while captain Thomas Vermaelen barely featured. Having just seven starts. This has caused the former Belgian captain to send out cryptic messages about his Arsenal future.
In that time, Winston Reid has come into the picture as a potential signing in the defensive department of the team. Thomas Vermealen has not hidden his displeasure at being the third choice behind Arsenal’s first choice pairing, which might open the door for his eventual departure this summer.
The difficult decision the club might face is, who do they bring in that he will take being third choice without creating issues in the squad?
The New Zealander Winston Reid has been a Premier League stalwart with West Ham United since 2010, building a reputation for himself as a mainstay in defence for the East Londoners. He comes with that much touted Premier League experience and incidentally he has been linked to Arsenal before. With the situation with Thomas Vermaelen, the West Ham defender can come in to do a stellar job at the Emirates as the Captain’s replacement if he leaves. The 6ft 3in centre half will represent a bargain buy for Arsene Wenger, and his Premier League experience will represent a bonus for the North Londoners. As the last centre defender that Arsene Wenger bought within the league was Sol Campbell and everybody affiliated to the club knew how that turned at the end.
The likelihood of the 26 year old defender coming in, means the club will be getting a player with the requirement to slot seamlessly into the team without having to adapt to the league.
He made a total of 22 appearances for the Hammers last season. And his performance in centre defence was rewarded when he was voted West Ham’s player of the year in May 2013. With his contract running out at the end of this season there is a possibility that the club can come into the picture to get him.
Despite his quality as an established Premier League defender, he might not be in the same page as the defenders that fits Arsene Wenger’s ball playing defender. Winston Reid is adept at playing the long ball and commits lots of fouls which doesn’t come with the ethnos of the kind of defender Wenger will burst a gut for to sign.
In the end, one thing that is clear is that the club needs another centre half whether Vermaelen leaves or not.