Thierry Henry explains why Arsenal won’t spend £70m on top defender
The Arsenal legend explains why Arsene Wenger is unwilling to spend big on a new centre-half despite the club's well-documented defensive struggles
Thierry Henry believes Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reluctant to spend £70m on a world-class defender.
The Gunners managed to overhaul their squad in the January transfer window despite facing a bleak situation given the uncertainty surrounding Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Arsenal signed Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a swap deal that saw South American forward Sanchez complete a switch to Manchester United last month.
The north London side spent a club record £56m fee on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on transfer deadline day to help fill Sanchez’s void.
Wenger made the decision to sell faithful club servants Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud to raise over £40m before Aubameyang’s arrival.
However, the Gunners boss failed to tackle Arsenal’s defensive problems despite Wenger’s back four conceding 36 times in 27 games in the Premier League this term.
Former Arsenal striker Henry believes Wenger doesn’t believe spending £60m or £70m on a centre-half represents good value.
“Maybe he doesn’t see it as a problem, when we all can see it is. Why didn’t he go for Van Dijk?” Henry told Monday Night Football on Sky Sports.
“In the history of Arsenal, Kolo Toure was almost nothing, Sol Campbell was nothing. I know we’re talking about other times and now people have a price which goes beyond what it should be. Does he know the qualities of defenders? Yes. That’s the story with Arsene.
“People always say he doesn’t want to pay big and he thinks some of the players are not worth the price that you put on the table. But it’s a new era.
“If you want someone good, you need to but £60m, £70m, whatever the position is. I think he finds that really difficult.
“He does it easily for a striker or a creative player but no disrespect to defenders but he is like ‘that might be a lot’.”
Arsenal finished in fifth place in the Premier League table last season to miss out on a spot in the Champions League.
The Gunners will take on Premier League leaders Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley later this month.