Arsenal fans want Gary Cahill ahead of Per Mertesacker, but how would they each fit in to Wenger's defensive options?

Fans vote for Bolton defender, but Castrol Rankings rate German higher

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made no secret of his desire to bring in a new central defender in the January transfer window. UK revealed earlier this week that Per Mertesacker is high on the Gunners' wanted list, but they face competition from Manchester United and Chelsea.

With Thomas Vermaelen, arguably the Gunners' top centre-back, currently out injured as well as Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny are Wenger's only prominent options at centre-back.

Mertesacker has been identified as Arsenal’s main target to solve their defensive problems. However, with a £20 million price tag and competition from title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, the north London outfit are in for a hard time to capture his signature.

A poll of UK readers found that Gary Cahill of Bolton is the preferred option of the fans, ahead of Mertesacker and other rumoured targets Raul Albiol, Nicola Legrottaglie and Scott Dann.

But who would actually bolster the Arsenal defence the most?

The Castrol Football Rankings reveal the following:


397 466 485 714 839

According to the Castrol Football Rankings, Mertesacker has consistently scored well in each game with an average mark of 7.30 out of 10 over the past 12 months of football he has played, either domestically or in the Champions League.

Vermaelen in comparison is very close to the German with a respective average score of 7.20, but due to injury, has not played since August which is reflected in his current overall ranking  of 397th. However, this figure is 69 places ahead of his club’s transfer target who is currently placed at 466th.

Both players have tumbled down the rankings over the past 12 months, with the two having started last January in the top 100.

Meanwhile, Vermaelen’s current team-mates, Koscielny and Squillaci, have both had mixed success in the Castrol Rankings in the past year. Former Lorient man Koscielny’s rating fell steeply in the first quarter of 2010, but since signing for Arsenal in the summer, has steadily risen again as he played more games for the Gunners and currently stands at 714th in the rankings.

His fellow Frenchman Squillaci began the year in a very impressive 17th place, but hit a disappointingly low 860th in October, just two months after signing for Arsenal. His rank currently stands at a much improved 485th.

In terms of game-to-game scoring, both players check in below Vermaelen and transfer target Mertesacker. Koscielny has scored an average of 7.10 out of 10 over the past year, whilst Squillaci comes in at 6.90 during the same period.

Cahill - the fans' choice in our poll - comes in last of the five in the overall rankings, though has averaged 7.00 over the past 12 months. Ironically, his worst game in that time came against Arsenal in September, where he registered a lowly 4.03 under the Castrol system of scoring.

It would seem then that Werder Breman’s sought-after defender would be a valuable addition to Arsenal's defensive options.

Mertesacker also compliments Vermaelen well in terms of consistency, a trait that is vital for any player at a club the calibre of Arsenal, with performances expected to be exceptional week in, week out.

Can Wenger manage to pair the two together? Stay with UK throughout the transfer window to find out.

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