With William Gallas, Mikaël Silvestre and Sol Campbell are all out of contract at the end of the season, coach Arsene Wenger is making defense his priority. Talks with Gallas, who would like the security of a two-year contract extension, remain ongoing, although the France defender’s negotiating position is hardly being helped by what Wenger described as an “endless calf strain”. Gallas will be 33 in August, but has not played since the 1-0 win against Liverpool more than a month ago and is a major doubt for the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League quarter-final, on March 30 or 31.
Silvestre is also due to hold contract talks this month, while Campbell, who has been generally deputising for Gallas in the most difficult matches, is likely to wait until the end of the season before finalising his future. With Johan Djourou still recovering from a long-term knee injury and Philippe Sender’s on loan at Everton, it leaves Thomas Vermaelen as the only fit and available centre-back whose long-term future is settled.
Wenger has been monitoring Fulham’s Brede Hangeland and, with Arsenal having recently recorded pre-tax profits of £35.2 million, he could certainly afford one major signing.Wenger has shown interest in bringing both Hangeland and Neven Subotic to the Emirates and this summer he would do well to invest a large chunk of any transfer warchest in strengthening and rejuvenating an ageing and stuttering back line. However Fulham’s towering Norwegian could well be a good signing and the type of player Wenger could get the most out of. Borussia Dortmund centre back Subotic is one for the future and the 21 year old Serbian may be a youthful prospect but he has already shown himself to have quality during his stint in the Bundesliga.