Today is the day I make a case for the defence. The defence, which, in reality has been the problem area for Arsenal this season. With William Gallas having been stripped of the captaincy mid season and Kolo also struggling for form, we’ve seen the remarkable Johan Djourou come through the ranks. The Swiss International, actually heading the charts as our overall best defender.
As the stats were released on the Arsenal website yesterday, it’s official, he was our best defender in 2008/2009.
Although Silvestre was actually the best tackler, when you all the stats together, you’d see that Djourou had a high level – in fact, his tackling success rate was 92% and his pass completion rate was 78% (highest out of all the defenders). With him being the youngest out of the four central defenders – it’a a very promising situation we find ourselves in – but of course, Gallas and Silvestre are both 31 years of age – so surely one of them can’t be considered first choice – and the reserve player will most probably be Silvestre – who although had 100% tackle rate – is too slow to be in the premiership nowadays.
Which brings me onto the case for the defence and the genuine possibility that we may be closing to signing Thomas Vermaelen.
The story broke last week and there was / has been no evidence backing the claim – but in the last few days, I’ve received information through the editor of the website which broke the story explaining that it has come from a very reliable source. Having dug round the story, news in Belgium confirms that we’ve been negotiating for the Ajax skipper.
Arsenal have secured a €13 million (£11.4 million) deal for Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen, according to reports in his native Belgium. Arsene Wenger has been chasing the 23-year-old as he looks to strengthen his defensive options and has apparently now agreed a transfer fee with Ajax. Het Laatste Nieuws reports that the two clubs reached an agreement on Saturday and that Vermaelen is now close to signing a four-year contract with The Gunners. If the deal is confirmed then the defender will become the second most expensive Belgian player of all time, with Everton’s €20 million deal for Marouane Fellaini still the benchmark.
If we were to sign the Belgium stopper, who / how would he integrate into the team?
Would he partner Toure or Gallas? Or would he partner Djourou? What will happen if one of central defenders is dropped – how will they react? Both Gallas and Toure have been close the exit door this season – so will it be one in one out?
Stay tuned, something may break today or tomorrow.!