Arsenal manager Unai Emery has acknowledged that the club could recruit a new central defender when the transfer window reopens at the turn of the year.

The Gunners recently witnessed Rob Holding suffer a season-ending knee injury and this had reduced the specialist options available at the heart of the club’s backline, and they are expected to bring another player in. The top target according to Novibet is Jonny Evans, with the former Manchester United defender having a new lease of life at West Brom, and impressing Emery.

Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, Emery admitted that he would like a specialist option to bolster the central defensive position and that is something which the board could act upon when the transfer window reopens next month, he said: “I think if we can take one player to help us at centre-back, I think it’s a good option.”

“The transfer (window) is not easy…Koscielny is coming back and for the team it’s very important he is coming back. Then we are going to wait and see how Mavropanos is improving with his injuries, because he is also a centre-back who can help us. Another option we can play with two, with three, Nacho Monreal and Lichtsteiner can play in this position. I prefer to use, if we can, a specialist centre-back.”

In terms of the specialists, Emery has three defenders in Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi available at the moment but the latter two are scheduled to miss the Southampton game this weekend after picking up a domestic suspension for accumulating five yellow cards during the current league campaign.

Owing to this, Emery will be forced to feature one on Nacho Monreal or Stephan Lichsteiner alongside Koscielny but the former appears the likelier option, given he has previously played at centre-back under ex-boss Arsene Wenger. The Gunners are currently on a 22-match unbeaten run across all competitions and they should fancy extending the streak against a Southampton side, who are lying in the drop zone.

Arsenal are presently occupying the fifth position in the Premier League and are behind the final Champions League spot on only goal difference. A win would see them make up further ground on Chelsea, and see them stretch their record to 23 matches.

Emery’s Arsenal have impressed so far this season, with a new resilience and ‘back-bone’ that wasn’t always in evidence during Arsene Wenger’s last season. The signing of the season has to be Torreira, who has given opposition midfielders a torrid time in every game he has played.