Djourou can become an Arsenal stalwart

During the summer, plenty of Arsenal fans were demanding a new central midfielder and a new centre-back as must-haves if we were going to compete with the Ch*vs and M*nure this season.

As Jegbie says in his article, Denilson might just fill the midfield void, even though we’re going to need to rotate during the course of the season. I sincerely hope Abou Diaby returns fitter and stronger and shows more of the promise his exhibited when he first arrived at the club to ensure we have strength in depth.

When we loaned Phil Senderos to AC Milan (what were the Italians thinking??), there was a void to be filled that Mikael Silvestre will certainly cover in the short term.

But it’s heartening to hear today that Johann Djourou has signed a new long term deal at the club.

I suspected he may well have been on his way out last season – loaned to Birmingham and reportedly not very impressive, he then got injured and doubts were raised about his long term future at the club.

But, in terms of the ingredients necessary to become a quality centre-back, he has then all. He’s 6ft 4, fast and agile – even if he reading of the game is not at the same level as Tony Adams when he was 21.

I can see Djourou fighting it out with Havard Nordtveit for the second central defence berth once William Gallas leaves Arsenal – and given his exposure both at club and international level, he can only get better.

Djourou is ahead of Nordtveit in the pecking order at the moment, so it is up to him to make it impossible for Arsene Wenger to leave him out when Kolo Toure or Gallas get crocked.

It’s a fine balance between exposing players to the rigours of the first team and not compromising the competitive side of the game, and a mistake by a defender can be far most costly than by any other player except a goalkeeper.

So I hope Djourou starts again tomorrow night and shows us quite how good he is against the battering ram which will be Sheffield United.

And while you’re at it, Arsène, please sign Theo Walcott up before moneybags clubs start circling.