- Premier League
Wenger: Chambers can offset Vermaelen loss
Arsene Wenger has hinted he may not need to sign a replacement for the departed Thomas Vermaelen after the latest polished display from teenage defender Calum Chambers in Arsenal's Community Shield win at Wembley.
Chambers made his name in a full-back role at Southampton last season, but Wenger believes he can mature into a top class central defender and he cemented that theory with an accomplished performance as Arsenal beat Manchester City 3-0 in the opener to the English season.
Now Wenger is expecting the player he signed in a £16 million deal last month to challenge his established first-choice centre-back pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, despite Chambers' lack of experience.
"For a 19-year-old he had an outstanding performance [against City at Wembley]," stated Wenger. "The kind of performance he delivered is very promising.
"It's impressive because he hasn't got a long history in this position because he was a right back and I think if all goes well he has a good career in front of him.
"He can challenge both centre backs and that's what you want. You cannot play with two centre backs the whole season; that means he will play."
When asked whether Chambers' form meant he would not need to sign another player following Vermaelen's departure to Barcelona, Wenger gave an answer that suggested he was in no rush to make fresh signings.
"Chambers is among the best three defenders I have and if I can find another one I will do it, but to find another one of that quality will not be easy," he said. "Maybe a guy who can play in two or three different positions would be a better asset for us."
Wenger also went on to explain his decision to sell Vermaelen to Barcelona, as he suggested Manchester United's pursuit of the centre-back provided confirmation of his quality.
"Vermaelen left us and had the choice between two massive clubs," added Wenger. "That means these clubs have looked everywhere l and that means it's not easy to find someone like Thomas.
"I allowed Thomas Vermaelen to leave before the end of the season because he was not playing regularly, he behaved outstandingly the whole season with dignity. It's difficult to maintain that kind of player at the top level if he doesn't play regularly.
"I'm quite grateful and wish him very well because his behaviour was outstanding even if he didn't play."