Richards is a player who has been touted as a possible defensive addition to many sides this summer including Liverpool and Tottenham but the Gunners are in a position where they need a player of his type and quality and they have the cash to back a deal up.
Arsenal actually had one of the best defensive records in the country last season, conceding 37 goals which was six fewer than eventual champions Manchester United. However, the nature of the side’s defending in the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa suggests the arrival of Richards could come at the right time.
One of the ways Richards would be a very valuable asset to Arsenal is through his versatility.
He can play two defensive positions effectively; right back and right centre half. He’s arguably equally effective in either role and that versatility gives Wenger options at a time when his defence is stretched to the absolute limit.
His physical attributes will help Arsenal in terms of his pace and his strength.
Despite the fact he had a bad knee injury last season, he seems to have retained the pace which has always made him a very difficult defender to get the better of.
His strength would work for the club because it would enable him, and the Arsenal back four in general, to retain that presence and that intimidation factor.
If Richards plays at centre half for Arsenal, his pace will allow the team in general to play a much higher line.
One of the criticisms of the current side is that, despite their record last season, when they play a high line they are very exposed and easy to pick of, which was demonstrated in the North London derby defeat away at Tottenham Hotspur.
The presence of a defender who is able to drop deeper quickly is invaluable to a side that has been exposed when playing high up the pitch.
Arsenal must sign Richards because he increases the size of Arsenal’s defensive reserves and keeps other players on their toes.
Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen have all been very safe in the knowledge that their positions in the squad and team are not under threat and the arrival of Richards is something which could change that, improving the overall quality of Arsenal’s defence.
Richards’ mentality at the moment will be that of a player with a point to prove, someone looking to prove his doubters wrong.
He would have been hoping for a chance early this season at City but Manuel Pellegrini seems as though he is going to favour Pablo Zabaleta down the right side of City’s defence.
The benefit is if Arsenal sign a Richards with a point to prove, they get a little more passion, determination and ambition out of him which can only be good for the current side.
Is Richards the man for Arsenal’s back four? Do you think it would be a panic buy?
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