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‘Arsenal need two new centre-backs immediately’ – Nicholas wants ‘big problem’ addressed

10:38 GMT+3 27/06/2019
Sokratis Laurent Koscielny Arsenal Chelsea Europa League final 2019
The former Gunners striker believes Unai Emery needs to prioritise strengthening his defensive unit before the summer transfer window slams shut

Arsenal need to bring in two new centre-backs “immediately”, claims former Gunners star Charlie Nicholas.

There are already plenty of options for Unai Emery to consider in that area of the field.

As things stand, the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi are competing for starting berths at Emirates Stadium.

They boast plenty of experience between them, but have struggled to convince of late and fans have become frustrated by performances - particularly those of Mustafi.

With that in mind, Nicholas believes there is a need for Arsenal to freshen up their squad during the current transfer window.

Quizzed by Sky Sports on the recruitment priorities for Emery, the ex-striker said: "Two centre-backs. Immediately. They need a bit of pace - the guy who had pace was Laurent Koscielny but he kind of lost it about two to three seasons ago after the injuries.

"After that, I'm happy to add bonuses in midfield and potentially a winger or another striker but for Arsenal, ultimately it has to be two centre-backs.

"Arsenal under Emery have to be a unit. You have to get the defensive structure right. Nacho Monreal has actually done OK for Arsenal considering what his limitations truly were.

"He was a left-back, he was never a centre-back but he had to play there and that always told me that the reality was that Arsenal's big problem has been centre-backs.

"Hector Bellerin is still a bit away from fitness and we need cover but I'm really disappointed that we haven't got any youngsters coming through that are really threatening to take over.

"If we can get a left-back like [Kieran] Tierney then great but two centre-backs are the absolute key."

Tierney is considered to have been identified as Arsenal’s top target for now, but they have been made aware that they are going to have to dig deep in order to land the Celtic left-back.

If his services are secured, then it could be that attention is shifted to the heart of the defence as further reinforcements are sought on a limited budget in North London.

The Gunners had reportedly been confident of securing a deal for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, but couldn't make the numbers add up after failing to qualify for the Champions League.