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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wenger urgently needs defensive recruitment

Arsene Wenger undoubtedly is a intelligent man, he wouldn't have got where he is today without being one. And as football managers go, he is one of the more studious.
So why then has not yet addressed the yawning chasm in his side's defence?

The club's prudent approach to finances is well documented and should be applauded, but there is cash there for Wenger to spend on a defender, and it one badly needed. People looking at the weekend Premier League betting will know this.

The main targets appear to be Gary Cahill, Chris Samba and Phil Jagielka, the sort of vocal, no nonsense stopper the club needs to toughen up that now notoriously soft centre.

But Wenger is again unwilling to pay the money. A £12million bid for Everton's Jagielka was rejected last summer, so why with the player now tied down to a new longer term contract did the club return this year with a £10million bid?

British players carry a premium, it is frustrating and unfortunate but in his efforts not pay over-inflated fees I get the impression Wenger is cutting his nose off to spite his face.

This was demonstrated in their two recent friendlies in the Emirates Cup. The Gunners twice took the lead against Boca and NY Red Bulls but sloppy defensive lapses, the sort we have grown familiar with, cost them the win and led to the supporters jeering at the final whistle. Those following the Premier League promotions will be worrying where things are going.

To hear your own fans boo in a pre-season friendly is a clear sign something is not right and Wenger needs to act before the poisonous atmosphere is dragged into the new season – especially as they have a vital Champions League qualifier to come later this month.

But the louder the calls come the more Wenger digs his heels in. You wonder whether it would take something catastrophic – such as the absence of Champions league football - to finally force the Frenchman to act.

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