Chris Samba can solve Arsenal’s dodgy defending and emerge as a lionheart leader in the same mould as Gunners legend Tony Adams. Emirates boss Arsene Wenger is in desperate need of a no-nonsense central defender and has been linked with a £10million move for the Blackburn Rovers stopper.
And Arsenal legend Lee Dixon believes the giant Congo international, 27, fits the bill perfectly to fill a void in the heart of his back four. “At Arsenal I think there is room to sign a naturally aggressive attacker of the ball. People say Samba is not good enough to play for Arsenal but I watched him at the Emirates at the end of last season and he had a quality that I saw that you see in all good centre-halves that I’d perhaps not seen before in him,” said Dixon.
“The amount of times the ball went in box and it hit him on head, back, or leg and people would say, ‘oh, rubbish cross’. But it is no coincidence that he is in the way. It is all about timing. You look at the amount of times that Tony Adams used to do head the ball. He would get in the way of everything. John Terry at Chelsea does the same thing. The amount of times he clears at the near post. It is all about being in the right position at the right time.”
Dixon’s team-mate Adams led Arsenal to a clutch of silverware during his 19-year career in north London in which he played 504 games. But since he left the club Wenger has not been able to find a player with the same leadership qualities.
Questions are still being asked about the effectiveness of players such Johann Djouroru, Laurent Koscielny – who got the nod in yesterday’s drab 0-0 draw at Newcastle – and Seb Squillaci alongside Thomas Vermaelen and Dixon reckons the Belgian international is in need of a new partner.
He added: “Samba has the height, both attacking and defensively, and it is about having the mentality. I am a big fan of Thomas Vermaelen, he is a very good player but he can’t do it all on his own. It’s about a group of players knowing their jobs, knowing their positions and their first thought is ‘bang’ I am going to head the ball away.”
And unless Wenger splashes the cash sooner rather than later, Dixon says he sees his former club struggling to maintain a top four spot and Champions League qualification with Liverpool and Tottenham as their main rivals. “I think it is touch and go for Arsenal to finish in the top four as it stands but the transfer deadline is August 31. I think Liverpool will push Arsenal all the way. Kenny has come in and done a great job, bought some new players and people have said he has paid too much but Stuart Downing is a proven provider, Louis Suarez and Andy Carroll will score goals and Kenny being there, just his presence invigorates the whole club. I think Liverpool will be pushing for fourth spot as will Tottenham.”