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Arsenal legend wouldn’t be surprised by centre-back signing

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Ex-Arsenal striker Alan Smith would not be surprised if Unai Emery was to sign a centre-back sooner rather than later.

The Gunners extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 17 yesterday by beating Bournemouth 2-1 away from home and occupy fifth position in the Premier League as a result.

But while Arsenal managed to continue their rich vein of form and scoring goals, Emery’s defence remains an issue.

Writing in his Standard Sport column, Alan Smith reckons that while fringe players such as Rob Holding have impressed this season, there are still problems in the club’s back-line:

“I like the look of Holding. He has had a run in the side, which has been vital for his development and confidence.

“It can’t be easy playing alongside Shkodran Mustafi in central defence, because the German is very erratic, and it would be no surprise if Arsenal made it their priority to sign a centre-back sooner rather than later.”

Holding has done extremely well so far this season in the absence of Laurent Koscielny, but the young defender still lacks experience, and while Sokratis is a strong figure in the back-line, the Greek centre-back’s clumsiness can get Arsenal in a spot of bother from time to time, as evident from yesterday’s game. Shkodran Mustafi, on the other hand, remains a polarizing figure in the eyes of many Arsenal fans and doesn’t look the solution to the defensive problems.

A centre-back signing does look on the cards for Arsenal – whether Emery decides to make one this January remains to be seen, however, but the Spaniard should address the situation as soon as possible.

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