Back in April Arsene Wenger could not have been happier with his left-back situation:
“They are competing for the left back spot and I must say that Gibbs is a big competitor because I rate Santos highly, to keep him out will demand some great performances and he is providing that at the moment. There is a big competition going on there.”
Now it seems Andre Santos is set for the exit door after his much-maligned performance against Manchester United. Since that fixture Wenger has preferred playing Thomas Vermaelen as an uncomfortable full-back as once again Kieran Gibbs is side-lined with an injury problem.
While Arsenal fans would love to see the likes of Leighton Baines or Marcel Schmelzer at The Emirates if we are being realistic that just is not going to happen. As for Neil Taylor, who could have been perfect in the role, he is out until next year with a serious ankle injury.
Here are a few of Arsenal’s options.
Dennis Aogo - Hamburg
Wenger has been impressed with the German market of late and Hamburg full-back Denis Aogo could be an excellent addition to the team. He has 10 caps for Germany to his name and has become a regular in the HSV line-up. He turns 26 in January so is approaching his prime and is also adept in midfield so could be a decent buy for Arsene Wenger.
Jetro Willems - PSV Eindhoven
The young Dutch full-back is a highly touted international who has already made a name for himself with PSV Eindhoven. The teenager will not want to play second fiddle to Gibbs and that could play a stumbling block in proceedings but he would not cost much from the Eredivisie giants.
Nacho Monreal - Malaga
They have raided Malaga once this season and there is no reason why they couldn’t do it again for the Spanish international. Finances are better in Andalucía then when they sold Santi Cazorla to North London but Arsenal could surely persuade The Anchovies into a sale with a good enough offer for one of La Liga’s most under-rated players.
Lucas Digne - Lille
He is young and he is French but he is also very talented. Digne has burst into the first team at Lille this term but the signing of a young pretender might not settle the Arsenal faithful’s worries. Other options from France include Massadio Haidara of Nancy, Henri Bedimo at Montpellier and transfer-listed utility man Anthony Reveillere of Lyon; who could add masses of experience to the Arsenal team and can play either at right or left back.
Fabio Coentrao - Real Madrid
Here is the signing that would trump them all. Currently out of favour at the Bernabeu where the home crowd have lost complete faith in him he would be itching for an escape route. Even with Marcelo out injured Jose Mourinho could surely be tempted into a loan deal that would be of huge benefit to Arsenal FC.
One major question that has to be answered is what type of left-back they want? Will it be a young exciting protégé to battle with Gibbs for the slot? Or an experienced stalwart to act as competent cover? Maybe even a utility man who is adept across the back four?
What do you think? How should Arsenal play the left-back conundrum in January?
image: © jansolo09