Arsène Wenger may act immediately to ease Arsenal’s defensive crisis by looking to the free-transfer market. Arsenal were already short of options at the back, after the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona over the summer left them with just five senior defenders on their books, along with 19-year-old Southampton arrival Calum Chambers.
The precariousness of that situation has now been exposed by an ankle injury suffered by right-back Mathieu Debuchy against Manchester City on Saturday. The France international has revealed he has a broken ligament and will discover on Friday whether he needs surgery. With Chambers also suffering from tonsillitis, Spanish teenager Héctor Bellerin made his first start for the club against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek. Even with Chambers fit, Arsenal now have no experienced cover at right-back or center-back.
The Daily Mail reports that Wenger is looking at two free agents to provide a short-term solution. While the transfer window closed on Sept. 1, clubs are still able to bring in unattached players. According to the report, Arsenal’s scouts have been asked to assess Joseph Yobo and Diego Lugano. Although given the vast experience, and indeed, recent Premier League experience, of the 34-year-old and 33-year-old, respectively, it seems unlikely that a scout’s assessment would be needed. Yobo, who was most recently at Norwich City last season, might be a better option than Lugano, whose lack of pace was often exposed during his single campaign at West Brom, but it would be a surprise were either to arrive. More likely is that Wenger will make do with Nacho Monreal as a makeshift center-back cover, along with youngster Isaac Hayden.
A comprehensive 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund was also notable for again showing up Arsenal’s absence of a commanding defensive midfielder. Mikel Arteta’s lack of athleticism was repeatedly exposed, while Mathieu Flamini has also endured a poor start to the season. The Daily Express has reported that Arsenal might also attempt to find an immediate solution to that deficiency by bringing Lassana Diarra back to the club. Diarra spent a season with the Gunners in 2007-2008 and was last at Lokomotiv Moscow before leaving in the summer. Again, though, this would be an uncharacteristic route for Wenger to take.
In other reports, Arsenal are said to be one of the clubs keeping a close eye on the situation of Barcelona forward Pedro. According to Spanish website Fichajes.net, Pedro is unhappy with his predicament at Barcelona, with the arrival of Luis Suárez threatening to further reduce his minutes on the pitch. The 27-year-old has started two of Barcelona’s first three league games, with Suarez still suspended, but the emergence of young forward Muni El Haddadi has added further competition alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.
The story states that both Arsenal and Liverpool are interested and could look to make a move in January. Barcelona-based publication Sport also picks up the story and reports that Juventus have also expressed an interest, but that Barcelona, understandably, are unlikely to let him go midway through the season.