Going by the words of Peter Drury, the Emirates has hardly been a fortress for Arsenal in recent times. Being candid, an Arsenal fan will know how painful it is to see the Invincibles of Premier League regularly languish in the mid-table cards for a while now.
The last time the Gunners lifted the prestigious League was under the chaperonage of Arsene Wenger in the remarkable season of 2003-04 that witnessed one of the craziest feats being achieved as Arsenal became the champions without losing a solitary match.
A team that bragged about itself being one of the best in England has been nothing better than a mid-table contender in the last few seasons. The last time they came closest to the title was in 2015-16 when they were adrift of league leaders, Leicester City by 10 points and finished in the second spot.
Post that, they have failed to even star in the top four, a fact that won’t particularly make the fans and the management proud. One of the primary reasons for such a vertiginous decline has been a leaky defence. The last two seasons have ended for them with a goal difference of +16 and +8, which isn’t something remarkable going by the stature of the famed Gunners.
If one man has been a shining hope in the otherwise murky sky of Arsenal, that is Spanish right-back, Hector Bellerin. He has been a part of Arsenal since 2012 but could only manage to get his first start in 2014. He featured in 20 appearances that saw also saw him banging in 3 goals.
With every passing season, he was successful in establishing himself as regular and one of the most reliable players of Arsenal. Standing ahead of the 2021-22 season, Bellerin will still continue to be the best man in the Arsenal rearguard with the likes of Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari joining forces.
However, with Bellerin starting to attract a lot of suitors already, Arsenal will have to pay extra caution in order to ensure that they either lay down their plans for the Spaniard or simply start looking for alternatives. In this story, we will take a quick look at five possible right-backs who can replace Hector Bellerin.
1. Max Aarons
Max Aarons was a crucial part of Norwich’s Premier League campaign in 2019-20 despite the club getting relegated in the same year. He was a part of 36 appearances and squeezed his very best to keep Norwich fighting till the very end.
Aarons already had massive interest from Barcelona last summer, however, the Canaries were not interested in selling this impressive youngster. In his last season in the elite league of England, Aarons pulled off 5 clean sheets and conjured 48 clinical tackles. He also blocked 6 shots throughout the season, which was laced with 37 interceptions and 73 clearances.
Another impressive stat about Aarons said that he made two goal-line clearances, which is the epitome of greatness for a defender. He was also successful in making 178 recoveries and winning 167 duels. He won 22 aerial tussles and made zero unforced errors, no mean feat for a youngster. Alongside his industrious involvement in the defence, he was also a crucial part of the Norwich attack with 1339 passes and 7 big chances. He also whipped in 73 crosses with a staggering accuracy of 22 per cent that starred 38 precise long balls.
With such impressive figures, it won’t be startling if Arsenal will try to add the likes of Aarons to their modest defensive repertoire.
2. Tariq Lamptey
Lamptey had a few controversial outings in the youth team of Chelsea and ever since his departure from Stamford Bridge, he has displayed exemplary form in the handful of appearances that this youngster has managed for Brighton and Hove Albion.
From the 20 games that he has been a part of the Premier League so far, he has managed a goal as well, that underlines his versatility. His impressive statistics boast about 2 clean sheets and 26 tackles, with a success rate of 65 per cent. Throughout the limited span of his Premier League, he has managed to block four shots and produce 35 interceptions.
He has also displayed a great rate of success in clearances with the numbers reading 24 which involved 11 headed clearances. He managed to pull off 92 recoveries, which were laced with 108 victorious tackles. He also managed to win 8 aerial battles, with zero errors leading to goals.
Lamptey also pulled off 2 assists, 552 passes with an impressive 5 long balls created. His cross accuracy is 23 per cent with 6 accurate crosses. Such wonderful figures would define a fine addition to the likes of Arsenal.
3. Zeki Celik
Apparently, going by the latest reports, the Gunners have already expressed their interest in Lille full-back, Zeki Celik. He was a part of the Turkish national team in the recently concluded Euro Cup, but couldn’t really impress in his nation’s sojourn in the fray.
However, there are going to be two factors that will define the fortune of Celik in the upcoming transfer windows, Celik is an extremely hardy defender and his physical tussles are a delight for the eyes. However, he is a bit brash and his headstrong nature has proven to be a boon and a curse at the same time.
Another important factor that will play a major role in the youngster being drawn to the Emirates is a lucrative price of £13 million, and he has already been a part of a title-winning season at Lille.
4. James Justin
Out of all the names on the list so far, James Justin is the most impressive one. He has already proven himself to be a crucial moniker in the echelons of Leicester City and has impressed heavily in the preceding season of the Premier League.
From the 36 games that he has played for Leicester, he has managed to keep 13 clean sheets, which is quite an illustrious figure for a greenhorn. He has committed 97 tackles, with a success rate of 56 per cent. He has managed to block 4 shots, pull off 41 interceptions and 68 clearances.
He was successful in making 167 recoveries and also phenomenal in winning 228 duels. He has also managed to emerge victorious in 48 aerial bouts. His attacking figures have been equally sublime with 1736 passes, 2 assists and 96 crosses with a staggering accuracy of 15 percent.
With crosses being an imperative weapon in a right-back’s arsenal, Justin whipped in 47 accurate long balls, that will definitely make him a favourite at Arsenal if they come knocking for him.
5. Emerson Royal
Despite being one of the best teams in Europe in the last decade, Barcelona has been in the middle of sheer chaos in the preceding season.
The team management is eyeing chaotic unloading of players in order to accommodate a few decent purchases to revamp a disgruntled side. This will mean that Royal, who has been on loan at Real Betis for the last two seasons, can very well be on his way away from the Catalans.
Arsenal has already expressed their interest in the 22-year-old, who has so far belted out a significant display at Betis, making good use of his towering stature. It won’t be startling if the Gunners is successful in landing the big man.