Arsenal supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the new era under new manager Unai Emery following his appointment as Arsene Wenger’s successor last month.
68-year-old Wenger vacated his role as Gunners boss at the end of the 2017/18 season after 22 years in charge of the North London giants, in which time he led the club to three Premier League titles, as well as seven FA Cup triumphs. However, things haven’t been quite so good for the Frenchman in recent years, to the point that former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain chief Emery will take over a side that finished sixth in the Premier League this term, a staggering 37 points adrift of champions Manchester City.
Nonetheless, there are many optimistic Arsenal fans in the Tavern at present, several of whom reckon Emery can bring the good times back to the Emirates Stadium, and they are likely to be intrigued by recent reports linking them with a move for Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
And while the Belgium international could be a useful addition to Emery’s squad, they should forget about him, as they’d be better served targeting and indeed landing his £16.2 million-rated United teammate Chris Smalling (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, while Fellaini would bring greater aerial ability and strength to the Gunners midfield, he doesn’t appear to be the answer to their central midfield problems, what with the 30-year-old doing little to prove his credentials in that area at Old Trafford in recent times.
Thus, while Fellaini wouldn’t necessarily be the answer to their obvious midfield problems, Smalling may well provide the solution to their evident defensive woes.
The Gunners conceded 51 goals in their 38 Premier League matches this term, which was the most of any side that finished in the top seven, and significantly was 13 more than any of their top six rivals.
As such, if Emery is to lead the North London giants back up the Premier League table, the defence needs re-shaping and reinforcing, with it arguable that the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, and Calum Chambers are simply not good enough to do the job required.
And while Smalling may not have been at his absolute best for United this season, there is no denying his central defensive quality – one does not play 289 times for the Red Devils if one is not an accomplished player.
And with it clear that the Gunners are in need of an adept centre back to partner Laurent Koscielny at the back, the 28-year-old Englishman could well be the answer, with the man himself likely to have something to prove having been left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for this summer’s World Cup.
Reports earlier this year suggested that United boss Jose Mourinho could seek to let Smalling leave the club this summer after a few unconvincing displays, and Arsenal simply must be ready to pounce as he’d certainly bolster their defensive ranks.
As such, they should forget about a move for Fellaini this summer, as United teammate Smalling would be a much shrewder addition to Emery’s Gunners squad.
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