We are in dire need of a defender and it is all but certain that we’ll dabble into the January market for one. There’ll be pressure on Wenger to get someone before the window slams shut on January 31 but whatever he does, it should not be Stephan Lichsteiner.
The 30 year old Swiss defender will enter the final six months of his current deal with Juventus and with the Italian giants not looking to renew his deal, the player has been declared available for a transfer as reports will have it. Chelsea are the other club in the race for Lichsteiner and it seems right that we let them beat us to him.
Our defense is in need of not just any kind of addition but a real improvement. Mertesacker and Koscielny, when fit, hardly need anyone to replace them. They were both central to the 17 clean sheets we kept this season and our defensive problems have a little more to do with lack of protection in front of them by a defensive midfielder than their incompetence in their duties. However, we cannot simply rely on just the two of them to take through the course of over 50 games to be played this season. That partnership has already been cracked this term with injuries to Kos and the effects of the World Cup exertions of Per. Both are also very close to their 30’s, hence any competitor must be considerably younger and of great potential to rival their current abilities.
For all his experience, Lichsteiner is not exactly one of the elite defenders in the world. He is renowned for his attacking abilities on the right flank, being at his best when playing as a wing back for a 3 man defence. It tells of his proclivity to being more of an attacker than a defender. That, in itself, is quite un-Wenger and doesn’t present him as the player we need. We have Debuchy, Chambers and Hector Bellerin at right-back, coupled with Carl ‘banter’ Jenkinson who is causing havoc with his scintillating performance on loan at West Ham.
We need a central defender, and Lichsteiner is not.
Wenger should be looking to real, top class center defenders in January to give us more solidity at the back, and there has not been a shortage of suggestions. Winston Reid, Virgil van Dijk, Aymeric Laporte and Antonio Rudiger are all younger defenders, with great potential. The first two are especially available in the summer, and can feature for us in the Champions League.
Van Dijk has even made a shout out to Wenger, declaring his inclination to move to enhance his future if bids were made for him. That should be a good incentive for Wenger to abandon any plans to engage in a pre-contract agreement with Lichsteiner for a summer move or for an approach in January.
Mats Hummels will be the ideal person to be pursued in January but the fact we cannot afford wheat grains doesn’t mean we settle for the feed for livestock.
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