Gunners legend urges Arsenal to sell their whole defence

Charlie Nicholas has urged Arsenal to sell their entire defence as Unai Emery plots a summer rebuild of his squad at the Emirates.

Arsenal’s defensive frailties were exposed in Wednesday night’s 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League final, ending their hopes of securing Champions League football for next season.

Defensive mistakes were a regular occurrence throughout Emery’s debut season in English football, with Arsenal having only the ninth-best defensive record in the Premier League as they missed out on a top-four finish.

Former Arsenal forward Nicholas believes the club should make wholesale changes to their backline this summer, admitting he wouldn’t keep any of the club’s current defensive options.


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“I wouldn’t keep any of the defenders. Maitland-Niles I feel sorry for because he’s not defensive minded, he’s more of a central midfield player. He’s a good athlete but he’s not getting taught how to defend by these players who are on survival courses,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“Koscielny’s been in the deep end now for three years. Arsene Wenger, when he started playing Monreal at centre-back we knew Arsenal were in trouble. I’m sorry to criticise individuals because they give every ounce that they have but they’re not good defensively, I would let them all go whatever it takes.

“I don’t think it will take £150m to get them out and rebuild and build a new dynamic back four. The genuine aspects of it is I think “60m-£70m would make it better than it currently is.

“We have a decent goalkeeper but we need pace and younger legs at the back. Bellerin and Holding will come back. It’s time to use the younger players, like Nelson and Willock. But defensively everything must be pin-pointed to sort the centre of defence and a left-back.”

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See also: Europa League final was a microcosm of the difference between Arsenal and Chelsea