Arsenal should have prioritised signing Harry Maguire in the summer, according to Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer.
The Gunners spent £72m on Nicolas Pepe during the summer transfer window, breaking their club-record fee to add the exciting winger to their squad.
But Pepe has not had the impact many would have hoped so far this season, with the Ivorian yet to score for the Gunners from open play.
Should Arsenal have signed Maguire? Five things to know…
- Maguire signed for Manchester United for £80m in the summer.
- The English centre-back had also been linked with a move to Arsenal.
- But the Gunners spent £72m on Pepe, while also bringing in David Luiz for £8m.
- And Charlton manager Bowyer believes Arsenal should have prioritised signing Maguire.
- Maguire (41) has won more aerial duels than any Arsenal player this season.
Pepe joined the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and fellow summer arrival Gabriel Martinelli as Unai Emery’s attacking options, while Dani Ceballos also signed on a season-long loan.
Arsenal also set out to fix their defensive problems, signing David Luiz from Chelsea for £8m, a deal many believed to be a win for the Gunners given his importance to the Blues last season.
But the Brazilian has so far failed to improve Arsenal’s defensive stability, while new left-back Kieran Tierney has been eased in after injury and William Saliba was sent out on loan.
And current Charlton manager Bowyer believes Emery should have focused on bringing Maguire to the Emirates, instead of watching the defender move to Manchester United.
“Defensively they are frail, they concede too many goals. Their centre-halves have been a problem for years,” he said on Sky Sports’ The Debate.
“It’s not just been this season, it’s been for a while now, but they would rather spend £75million on a winger than a centre-back.
“Maguire would have been perfect for them, why didn’t they get him?”
Maguire left Leicester City for Manchester United in an £80m deal and has helped the Red Devils keep one of the best defences in the Premier League this season – despite their low position in the table.
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Emery praises David Luiz’s impact on Arsenal youngsters
Although Luiz has not had the best start to life in north London, Arsenal boss Emery has praised the Brazilian for the impact he has had on the club’s younger players.
“He is very positive,” Emery said last month when asked about Luiz being popular in the dressing room.
“He is every time speaking about positive things. He is helping the young players. He came late in the squad but his commitment is very high, his behaviour. Everybody was happy with that goal.”