With just a little over a week to the official opening of the January transfer window, Arsenal are reportedly retracing their steps back to Germany in search of a defender to ease their back-line for the second half of the season…. and beyond.
Perhaps buoyed by Ray Parlour’s recommendation, Arsenal will ask Dortmund for Mats Hummels in January as we look to strengthen our ailing defense according to Express.
The Bundesliga giants have been in dreadful form this season, with their second round advancement in the Champions League the only light in what has been a dark campaign. There’s been much talk linking a few of their players away from the Westfalenstadion, and Hummels is right at the top of that list with fellow Germans Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan.
Arsene Wenger is believed to be in search of a new defensive force that will bring greater balance to his rear guard in ways that will challenge both Mertesacker and Koscielny. The BFG, in particular, has come in for criticism lately, especially for apparently ducking a challenge on Martin Skrtel which eventually led to the concession of the stoppage-time equalizer at Anfield. Wenger dismissed the links with Ipswich’s Tyrone Mings, perhaps confirming the thinking that he’d be going for experience rather than a long-term prospect.
Hummels labeled his team’s performance against Werder Bremen as pathetic, as they finished the first half of the Bundesliga season level on points with bottom team, Freiburg, and that could point to a chance for Arsenal to swoop for him. He is certainly the caliber of defender who could come in and make an immediate impact in the team, with all the experience he’s had from successful seasons both at Dortmund and with the German National team, culminating in a stellar World Cup winning campaign in Brasil.
Two BundesLiga titles, one Champions League final and a starring role in a World Cup winning campaign, Hummels stands head and shoulders taller than all of our defensive options at the moment though Mertesacker can also boast of the shiny gold from Brasil this summer. However, Mertesacker retired from the German National team at just 29 knowing that he’s not going to regularly get selected over Jerome Boateng or Hummels in the future. At 25, Hummels is even yet to hit the peak of his career and his impressive CV to date can only get better. It may not be wholly certain that he replaces Mertesacker straightaway as he is a strong voice in the team, being the Vice captain.
The Arsenal defence is in need of a real shake-up. Despite the slight improvement noticeable since the appointment of Steve Bould as Wenger’s Number 2 in 2012, the defenders available to carry out the work may sometimes appear in adequate. For all the goods which the partnership between Mertesacker and Koscielny has enjoyed over the past 12 months, they must be offered good competition or risk becoming complacent. Considering his quality, it is hard to actually imagine that Hummels will have to ‘compete’ with either of Per or Kos for a place in the Arsenal defence.
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