As each day passes by it looks increasingly likely that Arsenal’s Gael Clichy will depart the North London club this summer.
The 25-year-old is yet to agree a new deal with the Gunners and has been heavy linked with a move to Serie A outfit Juventus this summer, leaving fans of the club, and possible even Arsene Wenger at this stage, pondering a possible replacement for the French left-back.
Well, should Clichy decide to call time on his Arsenal career, I personally believe either one of the three players listed below could fill the potential left-back void:
Leighton Baines (Everton)
In my opinion, the 26-year-old Englishman is undoubtedly one of the best left-backs in the Premier League at present. Baines has so far managed to appear in all of Everton’s 31 Premier League fixtures this season, and has bagged 5 goals for the Merseyside club to date (not bad for a full-back). The England international possesses great defensive qualities, is a consistent performer, and is also regarded as a set-piece specialist. Arsenal could definitely use someone of his ability to deliver enticing balls across the face of goal and in dead ball situations, as Clichy’s delivery this season has been below-par. Arsenal are reportedly eyeing up the Englishman this summer and suggesting that the Everton man could be acquired for a fee within the region of £10-£15 million. Most of the Arsenal fans I have spoken to have indicated Leighton Baines as the ideal man to fill the potential void, and I must say that I agree with majority.
The Nigerian international would be another great option for the Gunners to consider. The 25-year-old Marseille player is set to leave the Ligue 1 outfit on a free this summer, and it is believed that Arsenal have already made contact with the player over a possible move. Taiwo is a powerful individual who possesses great pace and agility, and like Leighton Baines, is regarded as a dead-ball expert. He also holds Champions League experience and is a consistent performer for both club and country. Taiwo has managed to appear 27 times (in all competitions) for Marseille so far this season, whilst netting 3 goals along the way. The left-back has also won 40 caps for his beloved Super Eagles. If Wenger is indeed looking for an inexpensive option this summer, then they won’t come any better than the Nigerian international. However, due to the strong interest shown in the player in recent weeks, Wenger will need to move swiftly if he wishes to acquire his services this summer.
Fabio Coentrao (Benfica)
Probably the most unlikely of the three targets on the list, but Fabio Coentrao is still another alternative for Arsene Wenger to mull over. The Portuguese left-back, who plays for Benfica, is apparently being let go by the Portuguese outfit this summer, which has alerted a whole host of clubs including Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal. Despite reports suggesting that he’s on his way to Bayern Munich, Arsenal could still potentially make a late swoop for the Portugal international…if they really fancy him of course. Coentrao was highly impressive in last summers World Cup in South Africa, where he demonstrated to the footballing world why he is in fact one of the best left-backs in the game today. Coentrao has so far made 26 appearances (in all competitions) for Benfica and has bagged 4 goals along the way, as well as 2 assists. The 23-year-old possesses great pace, skill, can use both feet, and above all, loves to bomb forward. Defensively he’s average (in my opinion of course), but if he were to join Arsenal this summer, he would certainly suit the North Londoners game-plan. However, his price-tag, which is believed to be within the region of £22-26 million, will almost certainly keep Wenger at bay. Still, we can dream right?
I’ve also read in the Daily Mirror today that Arsenal are set to land Charlton Athletic defender Carl Jenkinson for about £1 million this summer on a four-year deal. However, it is believed that Wenger will send the 19-year-old on loan during next season’s campaign. What I’m trying to say is despite Jenkinson’s imminent arrival to the club, the Finnish youth star will certainly not be able to fill the probable gap left by Gael Clichy. Therefore an established replacement will need to be acquired if the French left-back does decide to call time on his Arsenal career.
Could one of the three players mentioned above fill the likely gap left by Clichy?