Arsenal should have signed English defenders duo

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Arsenal have been criticised by former club star Charlie Nicholas for missed out on joining characters and leaders for their defence over the summer.

Speaking on Sky Sports, the pundit used Man United’s loaned-out centre-back Chris Smalling as one example of a defender who could’ve been available to improve Arsenal’s defensive options this summer.

Another he mentioned was Gary Cahill, who left the Blues for Crystal Palace on a free transfer and who has continued to put in reliable displays at his new club this campaign.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have made a couple of recent weak joinings in that area of the pitch in the form of David Luiz Papastathopoulos and Sokratis, neither of whom look like mentally compelling characters at the back.

In the past, AFC had some legendary centre-halves at their clubs such as Sol Campbell, Martin Keown and Tony Adams, so it’s little wonder a former player like Nicholas isn’t too affected with this current crop at the Emirates Stadium.

“Arsenal don’t sign personalities,” he said.

“Sadly I have to go way back to David Dein and he would sit down with Arsene Wenger and ask what kind of character he was signing. That’s gone now.

“It’s as if Arsenal sign players because they are desperate. Why not – and I don’t know how much he would have cost – go and get Chris Smalling from Manchester United in the summer before he went to Roma? Because he’d be better than what they had.

“They could’ve had Gary Cahill from Chelsea and sat him in the defence. He is better than what they have and is also a leader, but they missed out.”

Of course, all this is easier stated than done – it may well be that Manchester United would not, in this case, want to allow a player to leave and encourage a rival, even if they have reasonably recently sold Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck to the north Londoners.

Cahill, though, does look like a missed chance for Arsenal as he was clear to leave Chelsea on a free, so would’ve been an easily attainable and low-risk addition.