Arsenal, Manchester United lead search for top centre-backs

Arsene Wenger is in a desperate situation in search of a proven centre-back in the January transfer window to reduce the vulnerability in defence. The Arsenal manager cited his views on Thursday stating that he will sign a defender after Laurent Koscielny became the latest victim who suffered an achilles injury to join the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal in the injured list.

Updated: Oct 17, 2014, 14:46 PM IST
Arsenal, Manchester United lead search for top centre-backs

New Delhi: Arsene Wenger is in a desperate situation in search of a proven centre-back in the January transfer window to reduce the vulnerability in defence. The Arsenal manager cited his views on Thursday stating that he will sign a defender after Laurent Koscielny became the latest victim who suffered an achilles injury to join the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal in the injured list.

Celtic's Virgil van Dijk is in top of the list as Wenger looks to add more depth to his thin defensive line. In the summer he bought the highly talented young centre-back, Calum Chambers, from Southampton. With seasoned defenders such as Debuchy and Koscielny out, Wenger needs more solid cover who would deliver for him against big teams.

Wenger is facing a major defensive crisis ahead of Hull City's visit on Saturday in the Premier League with Calum Chambers being suspended.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that Manchester United are going to re-sign Stoke City skipper, Ryan Shawcross. The central defender was a member of the United youth ranks of their academy. Also in the list includes 29-year old Dutch international, Ron Vlaar. The big centre-half who leads Aston Villa holds a price-tag of 12m GBP.

United's defence have looked shaky after the departures of legends such as Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand. There is a definite absence of leadership in the back-line as this season has seen the club struggle defensively with lapses at the back.

The likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Johnny Evans have been consistently prone to injuries and lack of form and that is a worrisome figure. This has made Louis van Gaal use academy graduates such as Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair fill up the centre-half positions with new signing Marcos Rojo. Though there is enough potential in the young back-line, United need a leader with Vlaar and Shawcross being big players in the domestic circuit and in good valuation too.