Arsenal’s link to Jonny Evans has gone cold, while there’s no sign of another centre-back arriving, so could Konstantinos Mavropanos be an internal solution to our defensive woes?
The January transfer window began with West Brom defender Jonny Evans being a target for the club. Days have passed, and Arsenal seem no closer to doing a deal for the Northern Ireland international.
Meanwhile, a new centre-back did arrive in the form of 20-year-old Konstantinos Mavropanos. The Greek was seen as just a youth signing who would go out on loan for the season. That quickly changed when Arsene Wenger saw him in training, however.
He gave a positive assessment of the defender, saying: “He looked comfortable technically. He looks very mobile as a defender and he looks very pacy and strong in all aspects of defending.
“What I don’t know yet is how well he’ll cope with pressure, how much his lack of experience will be detrimental to his performances. We will see [how he copes with that] in the games.
“I haven’t seen him play in England against an English team yet. I have to see that. Personally, I am encouraged by what I’ve seen and I’ve decided to keep him until May.
“He looks like an intelligent boy as well. So let’s hope he will develop into a great player in the future for Greece.”
Mavropanos went straight into the match-day squad for our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea and was an unused substitute. He made his first appearance in Arsenal colours on Monday night in a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United u23s.
The defender put in an impressive performance, showing off his ball-playing ability, aerial prowess and strength. Having seen what he can do, it’s possible that Wenger has decided he doesn’t need another centre-back this month.
He already has adequate experience in Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal for teammates. Evans would hardly add anything new in that regard.
In addition, he knows Shkodran Mustafi can put in good performances, and has two more promising defenders in Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, although Mavropanos isn’t going to solve our defensive problems alone.
Nevertheless, it’s clear the club like him and rates his talent. If we have a very promising player on our hands, it’s worth keeping his pathway to the first-team clear.