How do you solve a problem like left-back?

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.

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11 Responses to How do you solve a problem like left-back?

  1. French Gunner May 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    I am sorry, you got it wrong for the first two options.
    Gibbs is useless defensively. He is not ready yet.
    Traore cant even get in the Juventus first team. He
    couldn't even get in the Portsmouth 11.
    I would go for:

    1. Baines…. Everton
    2. Enrique… Newcastle
    3. Sacko… PSG

    Thanks for the post.

  2. May 30, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I'm sorry, but you, and many other Gooners, are chatting nonsense when they talk about Kieran Gibbs. This player is not a ready made replacement for Clichy. He's injury-prone and frail defensively. He has potential, but if Clichy's future lies elsewhere than The Emirates, a better left-back would need to be bought in order for us to challenge for major honours. I feel Leighton Baines is such a player.

  3. May 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    if clichy leaves arsenal we need trust in gibbs, in any case I need come back to traore for have a good substitute on sideline

  4. May 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I liked the look of Miquel earlier this season. Very composed in defence but in need of playing time in order to further an attacking role.

  5. May 31, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    There is a fourth option staring us all in the face. Here's a quote from Arsene in September 2009.

    “He played against Thierry Henry [in the same game] and kept him quiet. I thought ‘oh’ and remembered the name. I put him in my brain and kept it in there.
    “I think what gave us a chance [to sign him] was from that moment on he played a lot at left back. A lot of people watched him a lot in England but saw him more at left back than at centre back.”

    It's the last line that i find interesting. He has been used in the past as a left back and i think he plays there for Belgium. It would be the best option defensively.

  6. May 31, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    Oh, i was talking about Thomas Vermaelen

  7. May 31, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    Yes pls trust our player, both Gibbs n Traoré should get the chance..

  8. May 31, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    A chance yes, first and second choice for an entire season no way !! You can't trust players who have yet to prove themselves to represent the club for the entire season. Jack Wilshere forced his way into the first team ahead of more mature players with excellent performances and that's the only way that young players should be able to become first choice. It only takes one player making one mistake to cost you a match.

  9. May 31, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Vermalin as left back.
    samba and cahil centre backs with djouru and koscelney as cover

  10. May 31, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    players to come in:

    players to leave:
    Fabs (only cos he wants to go and will bring in £££££)

  11. May 31, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Stekelenberg, Hazard, Samba and Falcao plus keep all current first XI players apart from Clichy. That's all i want from this summer and with the money saved from the sale of Toure and Adebayour plus the likely sales this year of Clichy, Bendtner, Rosicky, Squillaci and Denilson that should be affordable.

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