WTTGT Writer: Jak Penny
With the focus all upon Arsenal strengthening the centre of their defence, their left-back dilemma has been pushed into the shadows.
The future of Gaël Clichy has been a boiling subject for months now with a year remaining on his current contract, and the Frenchman appears to be heading through the Emirates’ exit.
Since breaking into the first team and eventually succeeding Ashley Cole in 2006, Clichy has been a mainstay in the Arsenal back four with his pace and attacking abilities causing various pundits to label him as a perfect ‘modern day full back’.
However, his defensive abilities have come into question and a dramatic dip in form this season could spell the end of his time in North London.
The problem facing Arsène Wenger is finding a suitable replacement. Identifying a player with attacking prowess and a keen defensive mind might prove difficult for the Gunners’ boss.
For me, it boils down to three options. He already has a ready-made replacement in Kieran Gibbs, similar in every aspect but, in my opinion, a better defender. Question marks still remain as to whether he can fulfil his undoubted promise.
The young full-back has come on leaps and bounds over the last 12 months with full England honours coming off the back of an impressive debut season as a regular first teamer.
It’s a move Wenger would prefer, promoting from within and showing that the Arsenal youth is as strong as ever and is producing quality English talent.
The second option available to Wenger is French full-back, Armand Traoré. The youngster has spent the last two seasons on loan at Portsmouth and Juventus respectively.
Juventus are reportedly keen to keep Traoré but if Clichy leaves, it could open up an opportunity at the Emirates to stake a claim for a starting berth.
Option number three would be to buy a left-back and he should look no further than Newcastle United’s José Enrique.
The Spaniard has excelled in the last few seasons and would add some much needed strength to Arsenal’s flaky backline. ‘The Bull’ has it all; pace, power and a wicked left foot, not to mention his eagerness to play on Europe’s biggest stage.
With a year left on his deal on Tyneside, Enrique would be the ideal choice ahead of Gibbs when, not if, Clichy leaves for pastures new.