Calum Chambers is coming to the end of his second season at the Emirates but will no doubt be frustrated with how the current campaign has gone for him. He has been limited to just two Premier League starts and has quickly become the club’s forgotten man despite the hefty £16million that the Gunners paid for his services in July 2014.
It should be noted that the defender is still only 21 years old and clearly there are ‘ups and downs’ in the development of any young player particularly at top clubs where competition for places is fierce.
He was always bought with an eye to the future but made 28 starts for the club in his first campaign. There was the odd game where he struggled but overall Chambers would have been delighted to have forged his way into the side on such a regular basis given he had only 18 league starts in his entire career before joining the club from Southampton.
His ability to play at both centre-back and right-back is a clear asset but this season he has been very clearly regarded as a back-up in both positions by Arsene Wenger. The outstanding form of Hector Bellerin at right-back has been a huge boost for Arsenal but a real blow to Chamber’s chances.
The Spaniard, also 21, looks to have the position sewn up for the foreseeable future and if Chambers is going to break into the side it is likely to be as a centre-back where at times he has look unassured.
Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are first choice in those positions but with Arsenal almost certain to again miss out on the title despite the struggles of all the other top clubs, there could be a rethink this summer and possibly a first managerial change at the club in 20 years.
Chambers clearly has the raw attributes to succeed but there is little room for error in the central defensive role and he definitely has some improving to do before he is likely to break into the Arsenal central defence so if Koscielny or Mertesacker are to be shown the door they are more likely to be replaced by a new signing than the Englishman.
Possible position shift
Another possibility could be him converting into a defensive midfield role as England teammate Eric Dier has done successfully for Tottenham this year. Chambers played there and performed well against Bournemouth in one of his two league starts this season and that could be a real option given the former Southampton man is very comfortable on the ball and a composed passer.
The Gunners are certainly lacking a real top draw ball-winning central midfielder so it could turn out to be Chamber’s best chance of getting regular game time in the near future although Wenger has been reluctant to play him there since his good showing against the Dorset club.
With youth on his side, Chambers still has the potential to succeed at Arsenal but another season like this one where he has been on the periphery of everything will not do him any good.
Loan move could be the best option
A loan move to another Premier League club where he is guaranteed to play may be what’s best for his career development at this stage and that may well come to fruition in the summer.
With a full top flight season under his belt, for the first time in his career, Chambers would most likely come back to Arsenal a better all round player and certainly a more experienced one and he’d stand a much better chance of breaking into this Arsenal side.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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