Ranking of the 18 centrals that Arsenal have signed since Sol Campbell’s departure

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Arsenal have had their fair share of defensive problems since Sol Campbell left the club to join Portsmouth in the summer of 2006.

While some center-backs have earned the adoration of the Gunners’ faithful, there are many others who have put in terrible performances and are fondly remembered.

We have ranked the 18 center-backs signed by the club since 2006 by how they have fared at the Emirates.

18. Sebastien Squillaci

Oh, Sebastien. The Frenchman struggled during his time in North London, handling just 39 games in three years before he was allowed to join Bastia for free.

This clip of Squillaci being comically dire says it all.

AND

17. Semi Ajayi

The current West Brom player did not play for Arsenal, but there is no way anyone could rank below Squillaci.

16. Konstantinos Mavropanos

The Greek defender looked pretty decent when he entered the field at the Emirates, but he really hasn’t had many chances.

Mavropanos is on loan at Stuttgart but his season has been hampered by injury problems.

READ: The 17 Arsenal players hoping to catch the eye of Mikel Arteta on loan in 2020-21

15. Pablo Mari

Mari joined on loan from Flamengo in January 2020 and impressed enough in three appearances to earn a permanent contract with the Gunners.

The 27-year-old has suffered from injury problems, but scored his first goal for the club against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League.

14. William Saliba

Despite being one of Europe’s highest rated young defenders, Mikel Arteta has frozen Saliba and has yet to appear in the club’s first team.

The only reason he’s gotten ahead of a few others on this list is that there’s still plenty of time for the 19-year-old to get better.

13. Mikael Silvestre

Silvestre had some absolutely shocking games in an Arsenal jersey, but he scored in a 4-4 draw in the North London derby, so props for that.

12. Sol Campbell

Having initially left Arsenal in 2006, Campbell rejoined in January 2010, making 10 league starts to help Arsenal to third place.

His second spell under Arsene Wenger was short, as the defender joined Newcastle United in the summer of the same year.

READ: An ode to Sol Campbell’s endless entry and a great England moment

11. Calum Chambers

There was quite a bit of buzz surrounding Chambers when it came in for just under £ 20 million in 2014, but so far it hasn’t lived up to the billing.

Now 25 years old, he has been on loan at Middlesbrough and Fulham and has battled injuries. Still, he has played more than 100 times for the Gunners.

10. Gabriel Paulista

Arsenal fans had been yearning to see some aggression and passion in their squad for years when Gabriel Paulista joined in 2015, but the defender may have taken it a bit far.

He averaged a yellow card every four games and was even labeled a “hot head” by Arsene Wenger before being sold with a small loss to Valencia in 2017.

9. William Gallas

We still can’t forgive Gallas for inheriting Dennis Bergkamp’s number 10 jersey.

The former French international made 142 appearances for the Gunners and was even named captain, but the last memory of his time at the club was when he sat on the field and landed a blow after a 2-2 draw with Birmingham in 2008.

READ: Ranking of the worst misdemeanors of Arsenal captains: Xhaka, Gallas, RVP …

8. Shkodran Mustafi

When Arsenal signed a World Cup winning defender in 2016, they hoped they had finally found the man to lead their defense for a decade.

The Germany international has helped the club win the FA Cup and Community Shield, but he also had his fair share of dire moments in the Arsenal jersey.

7. Socrates

Sokratis will always put on an honest performance when he enters the field and, like Paulista, he is an absolute warrior.

However, there are some key limitations to the 32-year-old’s game, and that has seen him fall into the hierarchical order of Mikel Arteta.

6. David Luiz

While Luiz’s time at the Emirates has been marked by a catalog of mistakes, he can be a good footballer in his day.

The Brazilian international endured a horrible cameo against Manchester City, but then starred in their semi-finals and final FA Cup victories a few weeks later. What an enigma.

READ: A forensic analysis of David Luiz’s crazy 30 minutes for Arsenal against Man City

5. Rob Holding

Holding joined Arsenal from Bolton Wanderers in a £ 2 million deal in 2016 but struggled to establish himself as a regular first-team player with Arsene Wenger or Unai Emery.

The 25-year-old has had a resurgence at Arsenal with Mikel Arteta, becoming one of the top names on the team roster. He’s also pretty good with the ball at his feet for a center back.

4. Gabriel Magalhaes

We know it’s the early days, but Gabriel seems like a real bargain for the Gunners at £ 25 million.

The center-back has been one of the few positives during his disastrous start to 2020-21, winning three consecutive Player of the Month awards from Arsenal.

3. Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker’s incredible performance in the 2017 FA Cup final against Chelsea secures him his place in the top three here.

READ: A forensic analysis of Per Mertesacker’s display at the 2017 FA Cup final

2. Thomas Vermaelen

After joining Arsenal from Ajax in 2009, Vermaelen enjoyed an impressive debut season at the Emirates and earned a spot on the PFA Team of the Year.

He was named captain of the club in 2012 but was sidelined by injury problems for a significant part of his time at the Emirates.

Laurent koscielny

His stay in North London may have come to a controversial end in 2019, but Koscielny was the clear winner here.

The central defender signed for Arsenal in 2010 and became a mainstay of their defense for the next nine years, making 353 appearances in all competitions and winning three FA Cups in the process.

It was also a bargain at £ 8.5 million.


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