There was genuine hope amongst Arsenal fans that they might finally have put and end to the defensive issues that have plagued them after they started the season with a succession of clean sheets.
However those performances are now a distant memory, and as the season has unfolded it has been clear that Arsenal still have serious problems at the back, and that they cannot hope to compete at the highest level until they are resolved.
The arrival of Nacho Monreal in January was a smart move, and the Spaniard could well fill the left back position for years to come, ably supported by the unfortunately injury prone Keiran Gibbs. However they still have problems in the centre back position.
Thomas Vermaelen has mostly been excellent for Arsenal during his career there, but has had a poor season, and whether he can return to his best form is a real worry for Arsene Wenger. If Vermaelen had a world class partner perhaps he wouldn’t be so exposed, but Laurent Koscielny has shown very little of the form he demonstrated last season, and Per Mertesacker seem unsuited to the system Arsenal are playing, and apparently has the turning circle of a sleepy cow.
Now Arsenal have been linked with Angelo Ogbonna, and this could be an excellent choice to address the problems in the heart of their defence. The 24 year old is tall and strong, but also highly accomplished when on the ball.
Although he has had a quiet season due to injury problems, Ogbonna is one of the most sought after defenders in Europe, with Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG joining a plethora of Premier League clubs in tracking the player.
The speculation is that Arsenal might attempt to jump the gun by making an early bid for the player, and try and get a summer move tied up before the end of the season. If they could, this would be an excellent piece of business, and give Ogbonna the chance to have a full pre-season settling into the side.
This time of year usually sees Arsenal rally on the pitch, if they could also make some progress in the transfer market as well they would be looking good for a better season next year.
image: © Arsenal FC