Arsenal have shipped 51 goals in back-to-back seasons – the most we have ever conceded in a single Premier League campaign.
There’s no doubt our defence has been our achilles heel over the past couple of seasons as we are about to head into our third consecutive season without Champions League football – worth at least £80 million a year.
As well as the financial loss of not playing in the Champions League, it also makes it harder on the club to attract the world’s elite. This summer transfer window has highlighted our problems, so far having only landed teenagers Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba.
Last season, Unai Emery predominantly went with Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos at centre-back. The former has proven to be a poor acquisition for the club whom we could really do with moving on. Sokratis was very good in his first season at least.
What’s more, experienced defender Laurent Koscielny is trying to force a transfer away from the club this summer. The 33-year-old wants to return to his homeland to play in Ligue 1. In truth, Koscielny is past his best but remains a good leader.
The departure of Koscielny would be a huge blow should we not sign an experienced centre-back between now and the end of the summer transfer window on 8 August.
Whilst we have signed centre-back William Saliba in a £26 million deal from Saint-Etienne, the 18-year-old has been immediately loaned about to Les Verts for the upcoming season. It’s a good signing for the future but not one that is going to help us finish in the top four this season.
Nacho Monreal has spent time at centre-back for us over the past couple of seasons but is certainly not an ideal choice here. Rob Holding shouldn’t be a regular for us in this role either, leaving us with very few options.
Whether Emery sees Konstantinos Mavropanos as capable of replacing Laurent Koscielny at centre-back this season remains to be seen. The boss certainly knows football but he must be concerned with our defensive situation. If not, we could be in for another long season…