Friday 15 July 2022

Centre backs - who’s in, who’s out @ Arsenal FC?

Continuing onto the centre backs with contractual situations provided by The Athletic (, here's the TLC prediction as to whether these players will stay or go, during this summer's transfer window.

Ben White (2026)
Despite being bullied at Brentford on his debut in August 2021, White quickly became one of the first names on Arteta's team sheet.
As well as being one of the best English centre backs around, he can also be deployed at right back, so White is basically indispensable.
Verdict: STAY

Rob Holding (2024)
Although the 26-year-old occasionally gets stuck for his perceived lack of ability, the same cannot be said about his attitude.

He had a strange end to last season, being a saviour at West Ham by contributing a goal in a 2-1 win, while being a sinner at Spurs for getting his marching orders in a game which was officiated badly.

When all's said and done, Holding's a winner, a battler and someone that Arsenal simply need to keep 'hold' off, if you'll excuse the pun.
Verdict: STAY

William Saliba (2024)
This may be controversial, but I don't think Arteta really rates Saliba. Of course, the coach may have changed his mind about the fully-fledged France international, who almost literally uprooted trees while playing for Marseille on loan last season.

Despite all the public protestations which seem to indicate that the 21-year-old will stay, personally, I can't see it happening. He's got a year left on his current deal, so don't be surprised if he moves on before the transfer window closes shut on Thursday 1st September 2022 at 11pm.
Verdict: GO

Pablo Mari (2024)
Although Mari is a decent centre back, like Cedric Soares, some of the criticism aimed at the Spaniard seems to be motivated by the fact his super-agent Kia Joorabchian negotiated the deal that saw Arsenal sign him.

Personally, I've got nothing against the agent, as the success or failure of signings is not the fault of the representative surely. Arsenal fans can't forget David Luiz, who some see as an expensive flop. However, I would remind fans that the Gunners won the FA Cup with the Brazilian in the side. Meanwhile, Willian, as mentioned elsewhere on this blog, was an unmitigated disaster.

Whatever the success or failure of Joorabchian's other clients, I don't really understand why some fans think all of the players represented by the Iranian businessman are duds.

Apparently, Joorabchian is in talks with Hellas Verona, Napoli and Fiorentina about moving away from Arsenal permanent, following a successful loan spell at Udinese last season.

Personally, I think Mari's time at Arsenal is at an end, mainly because he lacks the pace to be a starter at a top four Premier League team and hasn't got the fighting spirit of Holding, who makes up for his deficiencies with his raw aggression.
Verdict: GO

Gabriel Magalhaes (2025)
There has been a lot of interest in this player, with Juventus leading the queue. However, he has formed a formidable partnership with White, so it is unlikely the club will sanction a move.

Let's not forget, he scored five goals last season, which is a higher tally than any other centre back in the Premier League.

He's got what it takes: fast on the ground and good in the air. However, his distribution could be improved.
Verdict: STAY

Auston Trusty (2025?)
The 23-year-old has been loaned out for a second time, on this occasion to Birmingham City.

Perhaps the American signed from Kroenke's Colorado Rapids will have what it takes to thrive in England, but only time will tell.

Verdict: GONE

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