Arsenal: Chris Smalling turning into an odd obsession

Arsenal shouldn’t rule out signing another defender, but with Chris Smalling being linked again, questions really need to be asked.

There are so many Arsenal transfer rumors that seem to follow me around. Off the top of my head i can think of Marcelo Brozovic, Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani. But I have to add Chris Smalling to that list.

The Manchester United man has been linked to the Gunners seemingly every window for the past three years. Different fees are floated about before, eventually, it fades away, never fully dead because it will merge on a later day.

He’s back. This time, there is a transfer fee attached to the 28-year old. Just £25m and, supposedly, he’s all ours.

I have always been confused by this link, because while the Gunners could always use more defenders, I have never been that into the thought of Smalling being that added defensive help. Is he really a solution, or just throwing a body at the problem hoping it will help?

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Plus, it’s starting to look like Arsenal have an odd fascination with trying to pick up veteran Premier League defenders who have been through the Manchester United system. Which, granted, is a reputable system, but why the obsession?

If we are going to go after a defender this summer, which isn’t the worst idea in the world, it’s important to really go all in for someone that can change that back line. Not just another Gabriel Paulista who can threaten, but in the end, won’t bump his head on the ceiling.

Especially because when you look at who we already have, Smalling isn’t exactly much better. Calum Chambers has the English ability and he is growing into a good deal more maturity that makes him look like a better and better defender every day. And behind him is Rob Holding who is in a very similar boat, if not just a step or two behind.

Trying to be as unbiased as possible, I’d take both of them as deputies to our current defensive pairing over Smalling simply because, when next season does roll around, I would hope that we get a clearer read on Konstantinos Mavropanos and Holding and determine just how reliable they can be. Plus, ideally, we will know how much more Laurent Koscielny has in the tank.

No matter what we learn though, the outcome I find most likely are either that we need a big time, Koscielny-tier defender to take first team duties. If it turns out Holding and Mavropanos aren’t as close as we’d like, then maybe Smalling isn’t the worst idea ever, but there are certainly better ones.