That’s the verdict of former Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood, who has suggested Brighton pairing Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy as a duo who Emery should consider.
The Gunners’ Premier League fate was all-but decided on Sunday as a 1-1 draw at home to Brighton meant their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish were extinguished.
Arsenal can still finish level on points with fourth-placed Spurs but would need their north London rivals to lose to Everton and for an eight-goal swing in goal difference.
Emery can still guide Arsenal to the Champions League in his first campaign at the Emirates via winning the Europa League, with his side 3-1 up on Valencia ahead of this Thursday’s semi-final second leg (8pm).
But once again a defensive error cost them against Brighton as Granit Xhaka gave away a cheap penalty – with Arsenal sloppy throughout the afternoon.
Arsenal’s defence has now leaked 50 goals in 37 Premier League games this season and only once since 1983-84 have they conceded more in one campaign, when they leaked 51 last term.
And Sherwood thinks Arsenal’s back four is so bad that it won’t cost Emery much to replace them in the summer, suggesting even Brighton pairing Dunk and Duffy would instantly be a better partnership than what any of Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi can provide.
Money is a key concern for the Spanish coach amid reports he will only be afforded £45million to spend on new players, but Sherwood is confident Emery could buy the pair – who are both 27 years old – for less than £50m.
Sherwood told Premier League Productions: “I think it’s going to take time. It’s not going to be overnight.
“He’s obviously lost Sven Mislintat as well, who was the sporting director there. They’re going to have to find somebody who is going to be head of their recruitment.
“I’m sure if they trust Unai Emery they’re going to let him bring that man in, someone who is the eyes for him.
“It’s not always about how you spend, it’s about what you spend it on. Someone’s got to fit in.
“To improve what they have at the moment in central defence I would suggest it won’t cost you too much money. They’re not good enough.
“The defenders they’ve got are so bad, I don’t think you’ll have to look far.
“[Shane] Duffy, [Lewis] Dunk, improves them straight away for not a lot of money. And gettable, realistic, you go to Brighton and say, ‘There’s £50million for the pair of your centre backs.’
“The money you’d have to pay them would fit easily into Arsenal’s budget, Arsenal straight away would be improved next season.
“There’s two guys there who love defending, want to defend and first and foremost, not interested in self indulgence and how they’re going to look themselves. They love defending.
“That’s what Arsenal miss. Get that foundation, get that solid base, they’ve got the players at the top end of the field who can hurt any team in the Premier League. You’re halfway there.
“That’s just an example. There’s other guys out there who are capable of improving them because what they’ve got at the moment is well below par.”