With Arsenal’s recent signing of the young right-back Calum Chambers, many are interested to see how Arsene Wenger will choose to deploy the Southampton academy product. The Gunners’ manager has been known to lean towards signing youthful players with obvious potential, and Chambers fits perfectly into this category.
The acquisition of Chambers is also interesting, with Manchester United recently signing another 19 year old back from the Southampton academy system, Luke Shaw. Though Chambers and Shaw are similar in their age and upbringing, their playing styles are very different.
Chambers is a pure defender, who excels at challenging attackers, and clearing dangerous balls out of the back. Shaw, on the other hand, prefers using his speed and athleticism to attack down the line when he gets the ball at his feet. With this comparison in mind, Wenger seems to be searching for a back that is able to provide less attacking flair, and more lock down play from the back.
It is clear that Calum Chambers is an athletic player with potential, but how much can he help the Gunners this season? Arsene Wenger would surely want to compete for the EPL title this year, with anything less than a Champions League spot a disappointment. Looking at the inevitability of competing with a number of talented players and high level clubs, the young back does not seem like the solution to consistently get the results Arsenal need.
The youthful right-back does have first team appearances in the Premier League with Southampton, but has only played one season, making 22 appearances for the south coast side. This makes him staggeringly inexperienced compared to Mathieu Debuchy, who he will most likely be second choice to, as the Frenchman has made appearances in Premier League, Ligue 1, Champions League, and World Cup matches.This inexperience may cause Chambers to be exploited, primarily by veteran players who are aware of how to take advantage of an opponent’s youth.
Also, Calum Chambers has yet to be called up to England’s senior squad. He has had experience at the U-17 and U-19 levels for England, but Premier League and Champions League play is an entirely different ballgame. Without the opportunity to have experienced senior team international, as well as Champions League, play. Chambers has yet to see a level of competition that could help him develop not only the physical understanding, but the mentality of what you must do to play against the best athletes around the globe.
Those that have watched Calum Chambers play can easily see the potential that he has. The young player is versatile, athletic and has the opportunity to become a big name in the EPL. The problem for Arsenal is that, while much should be expected of him down the road, at this point in time he is too inexperienced, and has yet to regularly play against the level of competition that the Gunners will be playing against this season. I have no doubt Chambers will provide Arsenal with great skill and versatility in the future, but for now, Wenger will not be able to ask too much of the defender.