Arsenal’s acquisition of former Southampton academy graduate Calum Chambers may well be what is holding up Wenger securing the services of highly rated combative midfielder William Carvalho.
The 22-year-old Portugal international has been one of the most talked about summer transfer targets alongside Sami Khedira, and with a high buyout clause it appears the move may have hit the brakes.
The Gunners newboy Chambers has shown his potential already, shining on debut in central defence in front of a roaring Emirates crowd. Arsene Wenger knows he possesses a player who has tremendous ability especially after his exciting display down the right against the north London outfit last season.
The Gunners boss admitted Chambers is a potential option at centre midfield and he will be trailing him there ahead of the new campaign. Should he excel, then Wenger could look to the Englishman to battle Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini for the defensive midfield role this campaign.
Wenger told reporters after the weekends Emirates Cup pre-season tournament:
Chambers played very well over the two games [in the Emirates Cup] and at 19 was not fazed by the quality of the opponents and by it being his first time at the Emirates.
He was one of the satisfactions of the weekend.
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He can play central midfield as well as he has good technique, great mobility and is a good distance runner. It is where I can have a look at him.
He was educated as a central midfielder and then played with England U19s at centre-back and right-back for Southampton. That is where I saw him the first time against us and I liked him.
At the end of the season he did not play much for Southampton but I made my mind up to buy him after I saw him against us.
Wenger’s investment in the 19-year-old could prove to be a masterstroke if he does indeed develop into the physical, deep lying midfielder we crave. He has the height and appears to understand the positioning and organizational skills for the defensive role, while has has proven to be cope well under pressure when in possession.
Chambers played solidly as a central defender and will help provide more depth in the Gunners backline. Although he is certainly not the finished article and will take time to develop into such an important position in the midfield, his long term future in the position seems exciting.
Should buying Carvalho be held up by the progress of Chambers? No, we need at least two defensive midfielders for the future. Both Arteta (33) and Flamini (30) will be reaching the end of their contracts next summer, so bringing in Carvalho this season or even loaning him back to Sporting Lisborn should still be a priority for the summer. And a new centre half!
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