I’m writing this just after the news that Calum Chambers has left The Arsenal on a permanent transfer to Aston Villa.
This is not a blog to sing about the talent of Chambers.
I was a fan of the player, sure. I thought whenever he appeared in our shirt, he always gave everything – an accusation that can’t be levelled at all of our players. Chambers also appropriately filled in at full-back whenever needed – and did pretty well there if you hark back.
Although never the quickest player, he would flog himself up and down that right flank in order to give his teammate another option. And his delivery from out wide was more than enough for more aerially-dominant strikers to feed from.
His last appearance for The Arsenal was in our agonising Carabao Cup Semi-Final exit at the hands of Liverpool. Chambers came on as a substitute and even though he had less minutes than his comrades, he still led the way for tackles and aerial battles won.
It looked like he had shown his value to Mikel Arteta, but his departure highlights a worrying lack of depth in the squad, especially when you consider the departures recently.
With Chambers now gone, as well as Ainsley Maitland-Niles, it leaves Cedric as the only recognised backup on the right of defence, to help out Tomiyasu should he get injured again.
And it isn’t just on the right where we’re coming up short.
In central defence, we have Holding, White, Gabriel – that is it after Pablo Mari left on loan to Udinese.
On the left, we have Tierney and Tavares, which hopefully should be enough even if we’re pushing our luck a bit.
And it would be great if we could say we’re leaving these contingency spots open as we have some promising youngsters coming through in these positions?
But that doesn’t seem to be happening in defence at least.
And so, the sale of Calum Chambers is a bad move.
Chambers was never going to be our first choice, but he was good enough to cover. And play a run of games.
And crucially, he could offer that cover in more than one position.
Chambers’ versatility was gold dust. And his attitude was rare. Combined? We had a squad player who offered us a ‘Get out of jail free’ card when injuries cropped up. And he was seemingly happy to play that role – or so we thought until his departure to Villa Park.
When you consider he was behind Cedric in the pecking order at right-back and Pablo Mari in the centre, you can understand why he left.
Either way, without him, we have lost a vital layer of protection. Our defence is a little understocked right now.
We need numbers. Perhaps we could draft in some of the youth squad as cover – Omar Rekik and Jordi Osei-Tutu come to mind who have some experience.
At the moment, the likelihood of us dipping into the transfer market for a defender seem slim, there is no news of such a deal taking place.
But then again, the media don’t know it all.
Just look at the deal for Chambers, not one journalist predicted it.
So if you’re going to do some business Arsenal, please let it be for a defender?
And a midfielder.
Oh yep. A striker too.