Short at the back: Mathieu Debuchy’s injury leaves Arsene Wenger with a headache in defence So, it’s taken a grand total of four Premier League weekends for Arsene Wenger’s decision not to bring in more defensive cover at the Emirates this summer to backfire.
Arsenal have already had their fair share of bad luck on the injuries front, with Mathieu Debuchy joining his compatriot Olivier Giroud on the long-term absentee list after the weekend’s 2-2 draw against Manchester City, when he appeared to badly sprain his ankle. But as the old saying goes: hope for the best, plan for the worst – and the Gunners manager certainly hasn’t done that this season.
You may recall that Arsenal signed fewer players than any other Premier League club during the transfer window – aside from Tottenham and Aston Villa who also brought in five. That’s an alarming statement considering that their squad seems to be perennially one injury away from a crisis. Debuchy’s dud ankle could prove to be the harbinger of just that – as it leaves Arsenal with just five first-team defenders in Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs, assuming, of course, that the England full-back is ready to resume action following his own spell on the sidelines. All hope is not lost, though, and Arsene Wenger can still pick up a defender if he finds something to his liking in the ‘free agents’ aisle – although he’d do well not to look too closely at their sell-by dates.
Here are six defenders who could save Arsenal’s season including a few names you might recognise:
The former Super Eagles captain left Turkish champions Fenerbahçe in the summer after four years in Istanbul and still hasn’t found a new club.
He would bring a wealth of experience with over 100 international appearances for Nigeria and 9 seasons in the Premier League with Everton before his move to the Super Lig.
An unsuccessful loan spell with relegated Norwich City last season may put off potential suitors, but for a club looking for a short-term fix, Yobo could be the man.
Familiar face: Joseph Yobo spent 9 seasons with the Toffees before heading to Turkey
Another captain at international level, Diego Lugano spent last season with West Brom scoring an equalizing goal against Everton at the Hawthorns, before a solitary appearance at the World Cup with Uruguay.
Never the quickest, he’s slowed even further in more recent times, but, like Yobo, would bring an incredible amount of experience to any side struggling for numbers defensively outside of the transfer window.
Laurence Griffiths. Still got it? Diego Lugano turned out for Uruguay at the World Cup this summer
A defender of quality hampered throughout his career with injuries, Onyewu has played for the likes of Milan, Sporting and Malaga at the highest level in European football.
After injury once again prevented him from showing his abilities at Italian giants Milan, he offered to play for the Rossoneri for free for a season before getting involved in a training ground bust up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Injured on international duty for the USA he never played a league game in Serie A, but 69 international caps and at only 32 years old, Onyewu could provide an option for someone on a relatively risk-free, short-term deal.
Injury prone: Oguchi Onyewu’s career has been beset by injuries
A mainstay of the all-conquering Olympique Lyonnais side of the 2000s, Reveillere is out of contract after leaving Napoli in the summer.
Capped 20 times by Les Bleus, the Frenchman will soon be 35 years old but showed he can still compete at the highest level, albeit in a reduced capacity, during his time in Naples.
A winner of five league titles with Les Gones during their domination of Ligue 1, his vast experience and versatility in either full back position may be of use to someone in the Premier League.
French international: Anthony Reveillere has been capped 20 times by Les Bleus
The former Senegal international defender is out of contract after leaving Hull City in the summer.
Hugely experienced at Premier League level, Faye has spent 9 years in England with Bolton, Newcastle, Stoke, West Ham and Hull as well as playing 35 times for the Lions of Teranga.
A brute of a defender, Faye is 36 years old and only managed a handful of appearances in the Premier League last season, but was a permanent fixture in the heart of the Tigers’ defence as they won promotion back to the top flight the previous season.
At his age and lack of competitive football, Faye would constitute a risk for any club, but clubs looking for players at this time of year are clearly in desperate need of extra depth.
Plenty of experience: Abdoulaye Faye has Hull City, Newcastle, Stoke and West Ham
Released by West Ham at the end of last season, the former Northern Irish international defender is still without a club.
Another player hugely experienced at Premier League level, McCartney has played for West Ham and Sunderland in the top flight, starting 20 matches for the Hammers in the last campaign.
Another short-term option that may interest some Premier League managers.