Ex-Manchester United and England captain Rio Ferdinand has hit out at Arsenal over their January transfer window dealings, claiming that the club should have made signing a new centre-back their priority.
Speaking as a pundit on BT Sport during United's 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur, the 39-year-old weighed in with his opinion on the January transfer window dealings, and expressed his disbelief at the Gunners deciding not to pursue a top defender despite signing attacking options Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Ferdinand said (as quoted by the Express): "I still think their achilles heal is defensively. For the life of me I can’t believe he has not gone on to sign a centre-half.
“There were rumours that he tried to get Jonny Evans late in the transfer window. (Alan) Pardew said to him ‘come to me early and I’ll have a better answer for you’ but Arsène Wenger obviously didn’t see that one."
While the Gunners did sign 20-year-old Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos during the transfer window, he is unlikely to become a regular starter for Wenger's side - being seen as a long-term hope for the future rather than a player ready to step up to the level of Premier League football.
Arsenal were comprehensively beaten in their midweek Premier League outing against Swansea - a game that saw the Gunners slump to a 3-1 defeat after a series of catastrophic defensive errors. The likes of Laurent Koscielny were cruelly exposed in the defeat, suggestion that Wenger needs to bolster his back line sooner rather than later.
It was reported that Wenger made a last ditch effort to sign Evans from West Bromwich Albion before the transfer window shut last night, but the relatively low £12m offer is believed to have been dismissed immediately by the Baggies.
The Gunners will now have to hope that their existing talents are sufficient, as they face the tough task of ensuring a top four league finish.