Ex-Arsenal midfielder: Wenger deserves criticism

Arsene Wenger only has himself to blame for the club's lack of defensive cover, says ex-Gunner Stewart Robson.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson believes Arsene Wenger deserves all the criticism he gets for failing to add enough defensive cover to his squad over the summer.

Injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal mean the Gunners go into Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur with just four fit senior defenders – Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers.

And while Chambers has impressed at both right-back and centre-half since his £16 million move from Southampton, Robson doesn’t understand how Wenger could have allowed Thomas Vermealen to leave for Barcelona without having another high-profile replacement lined up.

‘Arsene Wenger has been criticised for not spending enough money in the transfer market on defensive players. He’s got Monreal and Debuchy out, so it means they’ve only got four fit first-teamers to choose from,’ he told ESPN FC.

‘That’s not good enough. Arsene Wenger said there weren’t enough players out there that he could buy, but there were some excellent centre-halves.

‘The defensive game has been the major problem for Arsenal over the last few years, and if you’re not happy with your defenders then you’ve got to make sure you’ve got midfielders who can defend as well – he doesn’t have that either.

‘If he was worried about the amount of centre-halves he had at the club then why did he let Vermaelen go?’

Arsenal were linked with last-minute deals for Winston Reid, Matija Nastasic, Ron Vlaar and Virgil van Dijk on the final day of the summer transfer window, but it was £16 million Danny Welbeck who proved the sole arrival.

Diego Lugano, Carlos Marchena, Joseph Yobo and Mario Yepes have all since been touted as potential free transfers to help ease concerns, the latter joining San Lorenzo last week, but such a move would be a sure sign of desperation on the Frenchman’s part.

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