In the pre-season tour of Asia, one clear weakness of the Arsenal squad was the right back position. We do have the best right back in the league at the moment in Bacary Sagna but beyond that, the depth is a little thin. Although he is improving, Jenkinson is way down on quality and at times look way out of depth in the Premier League. The other player who filled in at right back last year was Nico Yennaris but he is still has much to learn before being fully integrated into the first team.
It seems that this spot of bother has not escaped the manager’s scrutiny as he seeks to line up at quality alternative to Sagna. In the Mirror today, it was reported that Arsenal is looking at the Ajax and Dutch international Gregory Van Der Wiel to strengthen the depth of Arsenal’s defensive line. Van Der Wiel is in the last year of his contract with the Dutch Champions and unlikely to sign a contract extension (shades of our own Dutchman here). Therefore, it is likely that the Dutch club will sell him rather than lose him to the Bosman ruling next season. He is valued at about £7million pounds, which is definitely a steal for a player of such quality.
Van Der Wiel really came into prominence in the 2010 World Cup with good performances down the right for The Netherlands. His rampaging overlapping runs and stout defense was a big factor in the Dutch team’s success in South Africa. There were reports linking him to several Spanish and Italian clubs after the World Cup but nothing came true. Unfortunately, his good form seems to have pettered out with the Dutch team and his performances at this year’s European Champions leaves a lot to be desired.
Nevertheless, I think that if we can have him as an alternative to Sagna it would certainly strengthen the squad, given that the Frenchman is quite prone to injuries recently. Moreover at such a low price, he will definitely a value for money signing.