If there’s one position England have lacked in the last few years, it’s at centre-back but two good ones were on the move this summer.
This summer Fulham were one of the most active teams in the transfer market as the club brought in a raft of players to help stay the Premier League. At the back, Fulham heavily invested as they brought in Maxime Le Marchand, Alfie Mawson, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Calum Chambers. Chambers joined on loan from Arsenal for the season and has played in all three games for Fulham so far.
Following the defensive theme, Burnley also brought in a defender as they signed former Middlesbrough man, Ben Gibson for £15.21 million. At similar stages in their respective careers, it will be interesting to see how both players get on the season.
Although the 23-year-old signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal, he was sent on loan to Fulham in order to help his progression as Emery decided to go with the more experienced pair of Mustafi and Sokratis.
Under Wenger, Chambers had struggled to get any consistent game time for Arsenal and only made 12 appearances for the club in the league, indeed the highest amount of game he’s played was during his loan spell with Middlesbrough – coincidentally partnering Ben Gibson.
The signing of Chambers is a good one but from a player’s perspective, it remains to be seen how much game time he will receive as the season goes on as Alfie Mawson returns from injury, with Le Marchand also in contention for a place.
He looked great in the pre-season but he still has plenty of work to do defensively but he is still a solid Premier League player. A loan deal is a low-risk move for Fulham and he could well be a solid addition to the team. He may not get as much game time as he might hope but it seems Fulham have got some good defensive cover.
TT Grade: B-
Coming through the Middlesbrough academy, Ben Gibson’s arrival at Burnley could be one that over time could prove to be a good one.
Having cut his teeth in the Championship for much of his career, Gibson has tonnes of experience and is much more prepared to step straight into the first XI in the near future. With only Ben Mee and James Tarkowski as Dyche’s two main choices to start in defence, he needed to add another defender to the ranks as Burnley look to replicate their superb 2017/18 season.
During his time with Middlesbrough, the defender was one of the club’s best players and a leader on the pitch. Such were his performances that he had been linked with a move away following Middlesbrough’s time in the Premier League but ultimately signed a new long-term contract.
Considering the relatively low fee for a solid defender who is entering the prime of his career, Burnley have got a good player. A player that’s going to vastly improve under Dyche.
TT Grade: B
Both the deals are quite hard to split as they seem to be pretty solid pieces of business. Calum Chambers is going to go to a Fulham side that is looking to stay up in the league and could be a valuable addition to the squad. He still needs some work defensively but he certainly shows promise, albeit he may not fulfil that at Fulham.
In terms of Gibson, he’s a solid defender and has a good amount of experience to be able to be an instant contributor for Burnley. Due to that, Burnley have won this as they bought a good defender for under £20 million and who fills a need for the club.
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