Arsene Wenger is in for a crucial month this July, as the manager gets ready to sort out all the issues bothering the club before the season begins.
Apart from having to bring in established players to improve the squad, Wenger faces a tough prospect of trying to convince his want-away stars to stay put.
Arsenal appear to have given up any hope of keeping their captain Cesc Fabregas, whilst Samir Nasri is under the prying eyes of debt-ridden (yet big spending) Man United. Also in this list is the last remaining member of the famous ‘Invincible of 2004 – Gael Clichy.
Arsenal have never had trouble with the left-back position, with good players always coming out of the youth ranks. Arsenal never felt the full blow Ashley Cole’s departure as Clichy slipped into those shoes with aplomb.
Another one of those unknown players, who are visible only to Wenger and his scouts, Clichy has grown remarkably into one of the world’s best left-back, and he is still only 25 years of age. He is excellent going forward and is pretty solid at the back. Blistering pace and his passing ability are his strengths, but his crossing and marking do have room for improvement.
Now in his final year of his contract, Arsenal are determined not to lose him on a free, and as a result, have been listening to offers for the Frenchman.
A formal £5 million bid from Liverpool was rejected, which left me wondering what planet they are actually from? They paid £35 million for a player with just 11 league goals, but offer a ridiculous £5 million for an Arsenal invincible – I hope they aren’t serious.
With interest from Liverpool, Roma and PSG for Clichy’s signature this summer, Arsenal will have to act quickly if they indeed want to keep their man.
The club did offer him a new contract before the season ended but were unsuccessful. Now talks are set to resume once the French left-back is back from his holiday.
Wenger recently stated:
‘We have started talks with Gael and want him to stay.’
So I ask – should Arsenal do their very best to retain Clichy’s services this summer? Of course, they should.
With Vermaelen absent for one practically a year, and a new centre back expected, the Gunner will not want three new faces in their back-line next season. It might take them time to adjust and an experienced face will surely help.
Arsenal have already made a list of targets to chase if Clichy does leave, but that list doesn’t inspire much (not me anyway).
Baines is not a bad player. He might have the English blood and bravery we want, but he is no more skilful than Clichy. Everton will want a hefty payment for their star and Arsenal will be wary of spending so much, especially because they have an equally good player in their ranks.
Arsenal could surely do without the likes of Jose Enrique. He is decent at best and rather than pay around 8m for him, the North London club will be better off giving Clichy the wages he demands.
Amongst our ranks, I don’t think Gibbs is ready for the big stage yet. He will be better off developing under Clichy than on his own and without competition.
Yes the Frenchman has looked a little shaky over the past year or so, and mistakes have crept in, but even the best have their off days.
At 25, he is highly experienced and has a clear knowledge about our club. He still has a lot to offer to Arsenal and Wenger knows the importance of keeping Clichy’s experience in the back-line next season.
If he is as bad as some say he is, why were clubs like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid after him a while back?
Clichy has what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and so Arsenal will do themselves a world of good by keeping him at the club.
Arsenal’s search for the elusive silverware needs the likes of Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy to be a part of it.
I for one hope these deals are done and dusted swiftly.
Should Wenger really do his best to keep Clichy at the club this summer?
Give us your thoughts
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