Even though Arsenal’s former defensive stalwart, Steve Bould, replaced long-term assistant manager Pat Rice as boss Arsene Wenger’s right-hand man last year, the Gunners have been found guilty of leaking soft goals this season. They have struggled to find the consistency at the back, and have also had a hard time keeping clean sheets.
Some guilty individuals have been singled out for their errors at the back, which have cost them their place in the starting 11. Captain Thomas Vermaelen seems to have lost out his place following a string of unimpressive performances, and it seems like Wenger has found his ideal partnership in the form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. The duo managed to keep Bayern Munich at bay in the second-leg of the UEFA Champions League, along with keeping a clean sheet against Swansea on Saturday.
Sections of the media also suggest that Vermaelen might face a struggle to save his Arsenal career in the summer, with a list being drawn up regarding his possible replacements. The latest addition to the list is Marseille’s Nicolas N’koulou. The young defender’s stock has risen this season as he has put in stellar performances almost every single week for his club. The Cameroon international was asked about Arsenal and a possible summer switch to the Emirates Stadium, where the 22-year old confessed his admiration for the Gunners, but at the same time stating that no deal has been reached. He also spoke about the financial instability at Marseille, which could see him being offloaded in an attempt to balance the books.
He spoke to Sky Sports where he revealed, “Nothing is done with Arsenal,”
“It is only paper talk. I like Arsenal as a fan of good football, but it does not mean I will join them.
“I will be able to talk about my future in the summer. I know the club want to balance their books and think I am an asset for them.”
Could the versatility of the defender tempt Wenger to make a move for him in the summer?