John Hartson believes that Calum Chambers will eventually become Arsenal’s defensive midfielder, but claims that for the time being he is needed elsewhere.
The 19-year-old has made an impressive start to life at the Emirates Stadium, appearing in all but one of Arsenal’s Premier League fixtures so far.
Utilising the youngster’s ability to play in a number of positions to Arsenal’s advantage, manager Arsene Wenger has named the England international in both the right-back and centre-back positions in Premier League games this season.
However, Hartson believes that Chambers will eventually move into midfield and replace Mikel Arteta as the club’s defensive midfielder.
‘I feel teams get at Arsenal too easily at the back,’ Hartson explained to Goal.com. ‘Chelsea have two commanding central defenders but Arsenal have none.
‘A defensive midfield player should offer protection. I like Mikel Arteta but he doesn’t have the presence, while Abou Diaby can’t string matches together.
‘I see Calum Chambers eventually playing there but the summer buy from Southampton is needed elsewhere just now.’
Despite hailing the youngster, Hartson went on to name two defensive midfield players Arsenal should try to sign.
‘’Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira has been linked and, although it would cost £40million to get his signature, Arsenal have the money and can’t afford not to spend it', he said. ‘If they can’t get him, Javi Martinez at Bayern Munich would fit the bill.’
Arsenal’s lack of a physical presence in the middle of the park has been a problem aired by many fans and critics, with the phrase ‘need a Vieira’ being used on more than one occasion.
Arteta, the current first-choice for the role, is renowned as a tidy, intelligent footballer but does lack the brute force and domineering presence that all successful teams need at times, as proven by the success Premier League leaders Chelsea have had since their January buy of Nemanja Matic and continuing success of Manchester City with Yaya Toure.
Does Calum Chambers fit the bill? It’s hard to say without seeing him in that role, but he certainly carries a certain physical presence.
Chambers is strong in the tackle, calm and composed on the ball, and good in the air. However, as it is a specialist role, sometimes even the most physically perfect players are unable to fill it properly due to the mentality needed to succeed in that position.
The youngster could be tried and tested in that position, of course, but he would undoubtedly need time to grow and learn the role. As it stands, Arsenal and Wenger don’t have the luxury of time on their hands and will surely be looking to bring in a more experienced player in the near future.