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Who to Keep and Sell From Squad

Arsenal have too many centre-backs right now.

There are just too darn many. Because of that, Arsenal are desperate need to move some of them on this summer, or next, with the following a review of who should and who shouldn’t be kept.

In total Mikel Arteta has William Saliba, Sokratis, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, David Luiz and Konstantinos Mavropanos (now breathe).

It’s quite ludicrous isn’t it? And then there is Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney who’ve both taken up spots in the back three. Quite simply, too many. Let’s review the situation.

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William Saliba

William Saliba signed for Arsenal from AS Saint-Étienne for £27m in the summer of 2019/20, before immediately going back on loan for the season, where he impressed once again.

He picked up a bad metatarsal injury that kept him on the sidelines for an extended period of time, but when he did get back on the pitch, he showed exactly the kind of form that demonstrated why Arsenal were so desperate to sign him in the first place. Hopefully, we are able to soon see how good he can be for this club. Early days.

Verdict: Keep (obviously)

Gabriel Magalhaes

Gabriel has made just two appearances since he joined from Lille this summer in a deal that cost £27m, being awarded the man-of-the-match award in both games.

He’s shown that he has the ability to play crisp passes into the final third, completing 16 passes in the oppositions half at an 86% success rate, while he’s also a massive physical presence aerially.

Even on the deck he boasts an imposing frame, which is something that Arsenal have been calling out for a very long time.

Verdict: Keep (obviously)

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Arsenal, Sokratis (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Ever since Sokratis made his move from Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal for £17.6m, he has really struggled to adapt to the Premier League.

He constantly gives away needless fouls and is way to rash to be an elite level centre-back, even if he had performed so well in Germany. It’s most clear in the system that Mikel Arteta is looking to implement, as he doesn’t have the level of composure on the ball that is required to play out from the back.

Verdict: Sell

Rob Holding

Rob Holding is an interesting one for me.

In the 2018/19 season, he was Arsenal’s best defender, but unfortunately, he ruptured his ACL during the 2-2 draw against Manchester United which sidelined him for nine months. When he returned the following year, he struggled immensely. That is, however, understandable for someone coming back from such a lengthy lay-off.

Holding has featured in all of Arsenal’s games this season, performing well against Fulham and Leicester but struggled a touch against West Ham. Still, I think he should be kept.

Another thing we can’t forget is he also contributes to the home-grown quota, which is an area we’re caught in a balancing act with at the moment.

Verdict: Keep

Shkodran Mustafi

What started out as such a promising Arsenal career for Shkodran Mustafi has since gone the complete opposite direction than he would’ve hoped for.

Arsenal maintained a 22-match unbeaten run with Mustafi in the lineup near the beginning of the 2018/19 season, but that was probably the only real positive we have seen.

The German constantly makes error after error, costing Arsenal too many points, and fans are fed up. Although he has had a slight improvement since Arteta came in, I think it is time to cut ties with the World Cup winner. Besides, he only has a year left on his deal anyway.

Verdict: Sell

Calum Chambers

Arsenal, Calum Chambers

Arsenal, Calum Chambers (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

In a very similar situation to Holding, Calum Chambers was among Arsenal’s best defenders during the time that he was fit for the 2019/20 season, but he also had the same injury as Holding where he ruptured his ACL in the 2-1 loss to Chelsea right at the end of 2019.

He’s now nearing full fitness, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Chambers to return to his best. It likely won’t happen straight away and patience will be needed, but we should give him that time (he also contributes to the home-grown quota…).

Verdict: Keep

Pablo Mari

Pablo Mari joined on loan from Flamengo during the January transfer window which has now been made permanent, and although we haven’t seen a whole lot from him, I’m not convinced on him at all.

I like that he is a left-footed centre-back who is comfortable on the ball – as they can be hard to find for cheap – but notably, in the 24 minutes he played against Manchester City, he really looked out of his depth and was getting picked apart with ease.

He doesn’t scream Arsenal quality and there are better options available at the moment.

Verdict: Keep (only for this season)

David Luiz

Arsenal, David Luiz

Arsenal, David Luiz (Photo by Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images)

As a whole, David Luiz hasn’t been great for Arsenal since his £8m move from Chelsea, but we can’t forget how well he performed in Arsenal’s FA Cup-winning run.

In the three-man defensive formation that we are currently using, you will get the best out of him. He is a very popular figure among the dressing room and seeing as we have young Saliba, who could benefit from Luiz’s experience, and Gabriel, who is also Brazilian, he could help both of these new centre-backs settle in and guide them through their first Premier League season.

He’s now going anywhere this summer but his age and frailties mean he shouldn’t stay beyond his one-year deal.

Verdict: Keep (only for this season)

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