After Calum Chambers and Rob Holding started against Chelsea on Wednesday night, could Arsene Wenger refrain from making a first-team defensive signing in January?
After the game, Wenger confirmed that the Gunners are close to signing Konstantinos Mavropanos. However, he said the defender isn’t ready to play for Arsenal, and will go on loan. So he clearly isn’t going to be playing for the first-team.
As a result, you’d think the club might make another signing, for the immediate future. Shkodran Mustafi is currently fit, but he’s already had a couple of absences with injury. Laurent Koscielny has a long term Achilles problem that’s flared up this week. Nacho Monreal is injured, and Per Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season.
But the manager selecting Holding and Chambers against Chelsea suggests the opposite. He clearly trusts the pair in such a big game, even when Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy are available. That’s a big change from the rest of the season, when it seemed to me like Wenger only considered them for cup games, or the occasional small league game.
They’ve only made seven league starts between them, even including the two combined against Chelsea. Wenger only seems to make January signings for the first-team when absolutely necessary. If the boss considers Holding and Chambers as fully fledged options, it’s not really necessary anymore.
There’s always a chance that the club bring in a new defender and send one of the two Englishmen out on loan, however. That would help them plan for the future and the present. But for now, I wouldn’t expect any more January business at the back.