Wenger: It’s important to keep our young defenders

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Arsene Wenger says it’s important that Arsenal keep hold of their young centre-backs after handing Calum Chambers a new two-year deal at the Emirates.

Arsenal appeared willing to sell Chambers this summer before the boss had a change of heart even turning down a bid of £20 million from Leicester in August. A new contract not only gives the player, currently injured, a chance to reinvigorate his Gunners career and protects the club’s investment.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s games with Watford on Saturday evening, Wenger noted: “He’s a young centre-back and he’s going towards his best period now.

“He’s played a complete season at Middlesbrough, unfortunately, he’s injured at the moment.

“I believe that it’s important we keep our young centre-backs because they blossom at 24.

“It’s important to keep them during that period.”

The 22-year-old’s £16 million price-tag raised eyebrows when he moved to the Emirates from Southamption in 2014, however, after an instant impact helping the Gunners traverse a tricky Champions League qualifier with Besiktas he went on to enjoy an impressive first season making 36 appearances.

Chambers’ second season proved more tricky and, faced with more competition for places, he featured only 25 times, often as a back-up right-back. Last summer the decision was taken to send him on loan to Middlesbrough. He made 26 appearances at the Riverside and earned plaudits for his performances despite suffering relegation.

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