Calum Chambers is on the verge of joining Fulham on loan after the newly promoted side agreed on a loan fee with Arsenal for the centre-back.
The 23-year-old has failed to cement a place in the Gunners’ starting lineup ever since his move from Southampton four years ago and is now set for a season at Craven Cottage. It will not be the first loan spell Chambers has undertaken during his time at Arsenal, having spent the 2016/17 season at Middlesbrough. The centre-half will be hoping this campaign turns out better, though, after Boro were relegated from the Premier League that campaign.
With Laurent Koscielny ruled out for a number of months still, Rob Holding yet to prove he is the real deal, Shkodran Mustafi far from consistent and Sokratis new to the club – are Arsenal doing the right thing in loaning Chambers out? Let’s take a look.
Seen as though Chambers and Holding played far fewer games than their fellow centre-backs last season, it is only fair to show these stats based on per 90 minutes.
It doesn’t look too good for Chambers when it comes to tackles won per 90, with him holding a record of just 1.06, while new boy Sokratis makes 1.84. Interestingly, Arsenal’s most experienced and probably best defender, Laurent Koscielny, makes almost one less successful tackles a game than the Greek international, at 0.89, and comes in at last place.
The 23-year-old is quite a way off being the top centre-half in terms of interceptions as well, with the fourth best record of 1.8 over 90 minutes. German Mustafi leads the way with 2.31 and Koscielny redeems himself slightly with a decent 2.22 interceptions made. Chambers is a pretty solid blocker by the looks of it, though, coming in with the second-best record of 1.06 – just behind youngster Holding. It isn’t surprising to see this from Chambers, given that he is probably the quickest of the five centre-backs in question after spending his early years at Southampton as a winger and a right-back.
Although the former Saints man is quite a bit behind Mustafi and Koscielny when it comes to clearances made, with 4.96, he does come quite comfortably above Holding and Sokratis on that front. However, aerial duels are clearly not Chambers’ strong point as he has the worst record of the defenders, at 48.28% won – which is poor for a centre-back. Gunners fans will be pleased to see that Sokratis has an impressive record of 66.04% duels won in the air. That could come in handy at both ends of the field.
Chambers is still definitely a work in progress, despite being at the Emirates for four years now. The stats show that he is probably the weakest of the centre-backs at the moment in time, with the younger Holding coming out above him in key areas such as tackles and aerial duels won. There are many that would have been hoping Unai Emery would take the 23-year-old under his wing and help him improve his game – but the new Arsenal boss clearly feels he needs to go out and get more experience elsewhere.
A year at Fulham shouldn’t do Chambers anything but good, though, with a very good man-manager in Slaviša Jokanović their to guide him. The centre-half will certainly get more minutes under his belt than he would have with the Gunners and should be playing alongside a familiar face from his England U-21 days in Alfie Mawson.
The move will leave Arsenal a little bit short at the back, though, with just Mustafi, Holding and Sokratis available until Koscielny returns later on in the year. That could lead to Emery dipping into the transfer market for more reinforcements at the back this week. Time will tell.