The Independent’s Jack Pitt-Brooke has a piece up today that looks at some major changes for Arsenal’s back line. The crux of the piece is that Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat and Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi are looking at goalkeeper and defense as the major positions to address in the summer transfer window.
The big headline though is that Arsenal are pursuing Borussia Dortmund CB Sokratis Papastathopoulos “as a priority.” It’s unsurprising given Mislintat’s decade at Dortmund and Arsenal’s successful moves for FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and MF Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Perhaps less inspiring is Pitt-Brooke’s notes on the fullbacks:
Arsenal want two new full-backs, with left-back Nacho Monreal now 32 years old, and Juventus expected to move for Hector Bellerin this summer. Arsenal have previously rejected moves from Barcelona and Manchester City to sign Bellerin.
Given (a) how well Nacho has played this season, (b) the fact that Bellerin is just 23 years old and (c) the scope of the changes suggested in the article, I’m not sure the timing of a change here is all that prudent. The Bellerin move may be out of Arsenal’s hands, though, as Hector has expressed desires to leave in the past. With an entirely new coaching staff and, if these rumors are true, a new defense coming in, Hector may see this as the best possible time to flee, which would be a shame.
We’ve all seen the problems Arsenal have had at the back, and it’s good to see that, even prior to a new coach, attention is being paid to those problems and how to fix them. Even without a successor to Arsène Wenger having been appointed (if Pitt-Brooke is to be believed), it’s fair to anticipate some new names at the back for 2018-19.