Strong teams are not built merely on flourishing attacks.
They need a strong defense to rely upon and while the Gunners defense is not poor it is neither impeccable and is prone to making costly mistakes.
While Arsenal’s defense has impressed, it has also been error prone at times and while the defense will be boosted by the return of Thomas Vermaelen, it still needs to be bolstered.
As the season draws to its finale, transfer news and speculation continue to heat up and with Arsenal failing to capture a trophy for the sixth season running, there is no shortage of players linked to the club.
While Arsenal have definitely come close to ending their trophy drought this season, there have been some flaws in this team that has become clear as the season has progressed.
For the first time, even Wenger has understood that his squad needs strengthening in some key areas and he is apparently willing to spend the money this summer in buying quality players who can supplement the youth and talent already at the club and help the Gunners cross the final hurdle.
One of the players currently linked with the Gunners is Ajax and Belgium defender, Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen is currently the vice-captain of the Dutch club and is the former club teammate of Arsenal defender, Thomas Vermaelen. Vermaelen was signed by the Gunners in 2009 and the former Ajax captain proved to be a great buy in his first season at the London club.
Vertonghen has been heavily linked to Arsenal for the past year or so and many Arsenal fans are hoping that Wenger will sign the Belgian defender and look to strengthen Arsenal’s defense.
While Arsenal’s defense is definitely not as bad as some make it out to be, there is still plenty of room for improvement and it is shaky at times.
This season we have witnessed both Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny form a great partnership and with the return of Vermaelen, the defense is bound to get stronger.
But with Vermaelen suffering an injury much similar to what Tomas Rosicky suffered from earlier in his Arsenal career, he may struggle to remain injury free next season. Also Swiss defender, Djourou too has suffered from his fair share of injuries and will struggle to remain fit for the entire season.
So it is highly necessary that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal sign a defender or two in the summer in order to strengthen the squad and provide depth in the defensive ranks.
Bringing in Vertonghen into the club will be a hugely beneficial move as his versatility will come in handy to the club.
While Vertonghen is predominantly a defender he is equally adept at playing in the left back position and can even play as a defensive midfielder. Not only that, he is adept at playing in any left sided midfield position.
With Gael Clichy’s departure looking more and more likely with a number of reports linking him with a wide set of clubs, Arsenal might be short of a quality left back next season.
While Kieran Gibbs has plenty of potential, he is not yet the finished product mainly due to injuries and will not be ready to take over regular left back duties next season.
This is where Vertonghen can come in. If Wenger does sign the Belgian defender then he could become the first choice left back for the Gunners switching between the likes of Vermaelen and Gibbs.
Clichy has been error prone this season especially at the back and Wenger may be tempted to sell the Frenchman and if the transfer does go through, Vertonghen will be a good replacement.
In Alex Song the Gunners have one of the best defensive midfielders in the league and with Arsenal’s current attacking formation and with their tendency to throw men forward, Song is essential for Arsenal to be successful. And Song does a fantastic job of marshalling the defense and protecting the back four like he did against Manchester United.
But the problem is that Arsenal lack a proper replacement for him. Players like Denilson and Diaby, while may have talent and potential, they are just not cut out to play in the defensive midfield role and very often during the absence of Song, the defense is left exposed and Arsenal tend to struggle.
If Vertonghen does move to the Emirates, he could prove to be an able replacement if Song is injured and would provide Arsenal with some quality back up. While many Arsenal fans would love to see Scott Parker at the Emirates, it will be difficult to accommodate him in the starting line up.
If Parker has to start then Wenger will be faced with the headache of removing one of his other midfield players.
So if Wenger does sign a top quality defensive midfielder, like some fans would love, then they might struggle to break into the team.
This season Arsenal’s defense has been exposed at times and Arsenal fans would relish the chance of seeing players like Vertonghen and Vermaelen in Arsenal’s defense. Vertonghen is such a valuable buy because he is a player who can play in three positions, in which Arsenal have some problems.
This season Sebastian Squillaci has proven to be a liability and players like Kyle Bartley and Ignasi Miquel are not entire ready to feature regularly in the first team. So Wenger will have to sign a defender or at least two in the summer.
By signing Vertonghen, Wenger not only removes the problem he faces currently during the absence of Song, he always adds a bit of leadership and organization to the entire Gunners’ defense.
Stoke City once again affirmed Arsenal’s frailties against set pieces as they demonstrated Arsenal’s inability to defend set pieces. Having an imposing and strong presence like Vertonghen will make the Gunners more organized against teams like Stoke.
His versatility would mean that he would have a great chance of being a regular starter at the Emirates.
Vertonghen’s versatility and experience will make him a valuable asset to have as he will offer defensive stability to the Gunners and at the same time offers cover for Wenger in some key positions.
Wenger has chosen to go with a stringent policy in the transfer market and while Vertonghen won’t be cheap, he will neither be too extravagant and will be a great buy into Arsenal.
But where Arsenal will benefit mostly from Vertonghen is at the back, as either a centre back or as left back. Arsenal will require Vertonghen’s presence in the back as it would add not only leadership and quality to the back four but he would also add some much needed experience.
Seeing Vertonghen in the Arsenal defense alongside players like Koscielny, Vermaelen and Djourou will be a great sign for Arsenal fans who have longed to see a solid and stable defensive partnership at the heart of Arsenal’s defense