Five defensive options for Arsene Wenger to ponder this summer

After throwing away a two-goal lead at West Ham on Saturday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger faced renewed calls from fans to ensure that money was spent bolstering his defence this summer.

Heading into the game at Upton Park, Arsenal had the third best defence in the league, having conceded 30 goals, but the Gunners slipped back to fifth best in the aftermath of the 3-3 draw.

With Per Mertesacker into his thirties, and with doubts hanging over his replacements – Brazilian Gabriel and youngster Callum Chambers – many expect the Frenchman to dip into the market again when the transfer window re-opens to add some world class talent to match Laurent Koscielny.

Here, and in no particular order, we look at five of the top performing defenders in Europe who may attract the manager’s interest.


Virgil van Dijk

Age: 24

Club: Southampton

Nationality: Dutch

The lowdown: Has averaged almost two clearances, three interceptions and more than eight clearances per match this season. By contrast, Laurent Koscielny has averaged 1.5, 3.5 and 5.5 by the same measure. Van Dijk has Champions League experience from his time at Celtic and has three goals to his name this season.

Negatives: Has not long moved from Celtic to Southampton.


Thiago Silva

Age: 31

Club: PSG

Nationality: Brazilian

The lowdown: The vastly experienced international has won league titles and cups galore at PSG. He has averaged almost two tackles, more than three interceptions, and almost five clearances per match this season.

Negatives: Is already into the latter stages of his career and would be reluctant to move from PSG, where he is on mega money.


Serge Aurier

Age: 23

Club: PSG

Nationality: Ivorian.

The lowdown: A versatile player who has been deployed at left back, in the centre of defence, and in midfield. Has averaged four tackles, more than three interceptions and three clearances per match, as well as producing three goals and three assists from defence. A tidy return.

Negatives: Like his team mate at PSG, will be reluctant to leave a club as lavishly blessed with cash as the Parisians.


Mats Hummels

Age: 27

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Nationality: German

The lowdown: A World Cup winning defender with a vast experience despite his age, can be deployed in the centre of defence and on the left. Has averaged more than two tackles, three interceptions and three clearances in every game this season in the Bundesliga.

Negatives: A highly sought after talent who will attract a high price and an immense amount of interest in the summer.


Diego Godin

Age: 30

Club: Atletico Madrid

Nationality: Uruguayan

The lowdown: Experienced international and La Liga winning centre back with a pedigree for gritty, aggressive defending. Has averaged 2.5 tackles, 3.4 interceptions and 5.5 clearances per match for the Spanish side this season.

Negatives: Already in his 30th year and long settled in Spain. Only a shade taller than 6ft, too, making him relatively short for a player in his position.


Wildcards

Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Joel Matip (Shalke), Samuel Umtiti (Lyon).

 

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