Arsenal defender Calum Chambers signed a contract extension earlier this month and will be part of manager Unai Emery’s plans this season. The 23-year-old fell out of favour under former boss Arsene Wenger in 2017/18 and was rumoured to be sold in the summer. However, Emery’s comments that Chambers will be in and around the first-team in 2018/19 suggest the side will take a different look from what supporters have been used to under the old regime.
Signed from Southampton in 2014, the England international has gone on to make 83 appearances in all competitions, winning the FA Cup and Community Shield. Chambers was more of a regular in the side upon his initial arrival but slowly lost his place as his form became inconsistent and the likes of Shkodran Mustafi was brought in. Last season, the versatile 23-year-old made only 10 Premier League starts but that now looks set to change.
Arsenal were lacking in experience at the back prior to signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund. The Gunners had Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal who are the older heads, but the likes of Rob Holding, Chambers and Konstantinos Mavropanos are on the other end of the spectrum.
With Koscielny suffering from a chronic achilles injury, Monreal being more of a left-back and Mustafi having struggled for consistency at Arsenal, the Gunners are weakest at the heart of the defence. Papastathopoulos is expected to play an important role next season due to his experience at the top level, but fans could see more of Chambers too.
Capable of playing right-back, centre-back and in midfield, the 23-year-old can operate in a variety of roles, so he’ll be useful to Emery. Whether or not he’ll be the master of one position next season remains to be seen, however. The last two years haven’t gone too well, spending 2016/17 on loan at Middlesbrough and hardly featuring in the Arsenal first-team a season later, but can Emery finally get the best from him?
An exit for Chambers will have been mooted during his lengthy period of inactivity in the first-team, but Arsenal have held firm and reiterated that he wouldn’t be for sale when other clubs came in for his signature. So little has been seen of him in an Arsenal shirt of late that it’s hard to tell whether or not putting so much faith in him is a good idea, but Emery should be a good judge of character.