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Dayot Upamecano not the be-all, end-all of this defense

Arsenal was never going to have a free run to Dayot Upamecano, and even if we do miss out on him, it’s far from the end of the world.

Arsenal‘s link to Dayot Upamecano is persisting through years of not having the money to buy him and RB Leipzig not wanting to sell him. Yet as we head into this summer transfer window, whenever that may be, it’s still Upamecano who tops the list of just about every Gooner out there.

It makes sense why. Upamecano is incredibly talented, he’s young, he plays the game the way Mikel Arteta wants his defenders to play it, being capable of driving the ball upfield and control possession rather than just play defense. He’s proactive, he’s confident and he’s calm. He’s the whole package.

But that doesn’t mean he’s the only package. With Real Madrid now reportedly joining the clamor to get their paws on Upamecano, it seems less and less likely that the Gunners will be able to pull off the move. And that’s okay.

While Upamecano is without a doubt a true solution to what defensive problems we have, we need to look at this sensibly. It’s sensational to think of our defense adding Upamecano to David Luiz, William Saliba, and Calum Chambers.

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That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Not at all. It just means that it is sensational. Incredible. But there are plenty of other practical ways to move this defense forward.

This is going to make me really unpopular, but a centerback trio of Saliba, Luiz, and Chambers with Pablo Mari as a swingman makes me feel pretty confident. Factor in the potential resurgence of Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos and I’m on board for the guys we already have. There’s a reason we spent money on Saliba last summer to get him this summer.

But for those of you that won’t settle for anything less than another defender, know that there are options. Jonathan Tah, for instance, is a tremendous option. Bruno Fuchs looks exciting, and he’s Brazilian, which is the magic word lately.

There’s a lot of opportunity to grow the defense beyond just Dayot Upamecano. I get why everyone wants him—I do too—but there are other ways forward.

Next: Next Season’s Predicted XI

Not that I want us to settle for anything less. But there are plenty of options out there that aren’t “less” either. They’re just different choices. Alternatives.

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