Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Make Signing a Defender Your Priority, Arsene

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Make Signing a Defender Your Priority, Arsene

Article excerpt

Byline: James Benge

ARSENE WENGER'S summer transfer priority must be a major rebuild of their defence, according to former captain Tony Adams. Arsenal have identified Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk as targets for a transfer window in which they have PS100million to spend in addition to whatever they recoup in sales. It appears Wenger's immediate focus lies elsewhere after he bid PS87m for Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe, with Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette also on the radar.

Having spent PS35m on centre-back Shkodran Mustafi and PS34m on anchor man Granit Xhaka, Arsenal conceded 44 goals last season, more than any other side in the top six.

Adams, leader of Arsenal's famed back four during nearly 20 years at the club and once described by Wenger as a "professor of defence", is convinced there is still much work to be done on the Gunners' backline.

"For me we need a goalkeeper and some defenders, still, and a really tough central midfielder," Adams told Standard Sport. "We haven't had one of them since Gilberto [Silva] left. This team will always score goals, especially if we can keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

"I don't think a forward has ever won a title for anyone. It's about the defence, how many goals you concede.

"Year in, year out the best goalkeeper wins the League. Thibaut Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the League. Chelsea won the title. Before that they won it because Petr Cech was the best. Man City won it because Joe Hart had a good season and [Vincent] Kompany was there.

"Arsenal don't have that. For all the money they spend on the forwards, they have to go and get themselves some tough defenders and get them into a unit."

Adams (right) made a rare visit to see his beloved club in action nine days ago, watching his former manager lift the FA Cup for a record seventh time as Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup Final.

Ozil and Sanchez shone in a convincing attacking display at Wembley but the Gunners were still unable to keep a clean sheet against a Chelsea side reduced to 10 men when Victor Moses was sent off for a dive. …

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