I know it is an area that has to be strengthened over the summer, especially with the futures of William Gallas and Sol Campbell in the balance, but I believe that Arsene Wenger will rely on Johan Djourou as one of the first choices next campaign.
Ideally I'd like to keep both Gallas and Campbell but that doesn't seem on the cards. I think William has more than one foot out the door already and is on his toes.
Sol Campbells situation is quite different. Sol wants to stay but he wants to play. He has spoken to Celtic and I'm sure he would get regular football there whereas with us he is likely to be back-up to the first team.
I'd love Campbell to stay at Arsenal. He is certainly a good influence on this squad but if he left I'd understand. The man has been immense since his return to us and has more than proved he can still cut it at the top level.
He probably surprised himself, but then knowing his supreme self-confidence maybe not! Whats clear is he became a very good acquisition to the Arsenal squad and Arsene Wenger deserves a lot of credit for taking a 'gamble' on him. Something Wenger doesn't really get a lot of credit for.
However Gallas' case is different. Despite proclaiming Gooners were the worlds best supporters many haven't taken to him. I, on the other hand, really rate him and would love him to stay but that doesn't seem very likely.
Readers of my blog will have seen the numerous posts where I have 'stuck up' for William and will know that I love him like a brother. Despite my love I think Gallas is definitely off this summer and if that is the case then the first-choice Wenger preferred partnership of Thomas Vermaelen-Willam Gallas will be broken up.
That's why I reckon Wenger will promote Johan Djourou as a first team regular alongside Vermaelen next season and especially when you see what Arsene told the Swiss man. Here is an extract from an interview Johan did a couple of weeks ago;
"I was really confident about being able to play this season. The boss said to me, ‘I let Kolo go for you to play’. It is the thing you don’t want to hear when you are injured but it is the truth. It is difficult to take on but I swallowed it and I will fight for my place next season, that is for sure."
That for me says it all really. We all know that Arsene Wenger would rather promote from 'with-in' and in this case I would be more than happy for Djourou to step up the plate. In my opinion Johan Djourou is more than ready to the make the move to first team regular and I think he would flourish alongside Thomas Vermaelen.
Djourou can and will become one of the best centre-backs in Europe given the chance and this coming season could be the opportunity for him to prove that. And I think Arsene Wenger will give him that chance.
That's why (despite the futures of Campbell and Gallas being in doubt at the club) I don't believe Wenger will sign a centre-back to slot straight into the team. Djourou has been patient and I think Arsene will put his faith in him.
That said I do believe the gaffer will sign a centre-back this summer but the players role would be more that of a squad player than first-team regular.
Keep it Goonerish...............