Konstantinos Mavropanos was one of Arsenal’s three signings in the January transfer window, but he’s the only one who hasn’t played a minute of senior football so far.
When Arsenal first signed the Greek defender, he was initially meant to go out on loan.
After a couple of training sessions, Wenger said: “The first signs he has shown in training are so encouraging that I decided to keep him until May.”
Since then, the Arsenal first-team have played 10 matches in all competitions.
They’ve faced the likes of Östersund, Bournemouth and Swansea, games where the starting centre-backs have underperformed, and yet Mavropanos still hasn’t even managed a substitute appearance.
He’s playing well for the u23s right now and has helped them to two clean sheets in four games. There’s not much more he could do than perform well in training and in academy matches when given a chance.
If he can’t get a chance in the League Cup, or in the early knockout rounds of the Europa League, it doesn’t seem likely the 20-year-old will feature at all this season. However, Wenger did hint he would play the centre-back after last week’s Europa League defeat.
“I have Mavropanos, who is doing very well in training,” he said. “At some stage I have to give them (Mavropanos and Mertesacker) games as well.”
But when will he get that chance?
The Europa League isn’t really an option anymore, with AC Milan next up. Even if Arsenal make it through to the next round and get an easy draw, it’ll be the quarter-finals of a competition they desperately need to win, so I doubt Wenger will take any risks.
That just leaves the Premier League.
Here are Arsenal’s fixtures until the end of the season:
- Brighton & Hove Albion (A)
- Watford (H)
- Leicester City (A)
- Stoke City (H)
- Southampton (H)
- Newcastle United (A)
- West Ham United (H)
- Manchester United (A)
- Burnley (H)
- Huddersfield Town (A)
There are definitely some very winnable games in there, but it depends whether Wenger is willing to gamble.
If Arsenal still have any chance of a top four finish he may not be so keen, but as they don’t, who knows?
It’s hard to imagine he could make anything worse at the back.