After heaping all of his transfer deadline day eggs into one Danny Welbeck-shaped basket, absent-minded Arsene Wenger forgot that his Arsenal side were membrane thin at the back, as well as up front.
Unable to buy contracted players, the Frenchman has a contingency plan, or so reports in Colombia suggest – he’s going to sign Los Cafeteros artefact Mario Yepes, who’s available for nothing after leaving Atalanta in June.
Thomas Vermaelen’s departure to Barcelona left the Gunners with just Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker as their only recognised centre-halves.
Despite the season being in its fledgling stages, both incumbents have been forced to miss matches already, meaning teenage former right-back Calum Chambers has had to fill in at the heart of defence.
Excavating the bank account on flash attackers is all well and good, but an imbalanced side can’t win trophies and Arsenal’s criminal lack of rearguard marshals will see the best efforts of their lavishly stocked frontline come to nothing unless they reinforce at the other end of the field.
At present, the north Londoners can be backed at 12/1 to win the Premier League, with their shortage at the back the root of this meaty price.
The potential of signing a 38-year-old centre-half is hardly going to cause the odds to tumble, but given the circumstances, it would be a smart move.
Despite teetering on the cusp of bus pass eligibility, Yepes was the bedrock of the Colombian team that reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup, averaging a commendable 3.8 tackles and 2.3 interceptions, as well as 5.3 clearances per outing in Brazil.
These figures dwarf those managed by first-choice Emirates stopping duo Koscielny and Mertesacker, who both averaged below one in the first two categories in question.
Sceptical Gooners needn’t worry about Yepes’ old age compromising his ability to take the field either – his stellar World Cup stats came after turning out 25 times for Atalanta in Serie A last season.
A lack of pace is accounted for by the organisational and influential qualities he stocks en masse, two characteristics Arsenal could certainly do with more of.
Couple these with enormous experience in Europe’s top leagues and the prospective of signing geriatric Yepes doesn’t seem so bad after all.