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Will Arsenal really miss this man now he’s gone?

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As the last remaining member of the famous ‘Invincibles’ of 2004, Gael Clichy had occupied a special place in the hearts of the Arsenal faithful. And with his transfer to Manchester City earlier this week, the last ‘Invincible’ playing in Arsenal’s colours is gone.

Clichy’s name has become synonymous with the Gunners over the last five years, and it pains me to see a club legend leave for our rivals.

The 25-year-old Frenchman wasn’t the best left-back around. He wasn’t a complete player by any means and had his weaknesses. But why have we become so accustomed to see the Frenchman in the team sheet every weekend? For all his flaws, won’t we miss him flying down that left flank come August? I’ll surely miss him. Maybe if Wenger signs a Baines or an Enrique, we’ll not feel the difference. That is purely on footballing terms. But I’ll miss someone who was the last remaining memory of Arsenal’s greatest ever season and that memory won’t die soon.

I won’t say that I am shocked that he has left us for this has been coming for quite sometime. In the last year of his contract, I’ll say he fetched us a decent sum. But I was expecting him to go to Bayern or PSG, but certainly not to Eastland’s. But if he was looking for a different challenge, then Man City was the best option for him (at least according to Toure, Silva and Adebayor!).

I feel winning with this Arsenal team is a huge challenge in itself, but he’s gone and so there is no point in discussing it.

He slipped into the shoes of money grabbing Ashley Cole, and we Gooners never felt his absence. Clichy was fantastic in his early days, and given that he arrived for a small fee of just £500,000, it was a marvellous signing by Arsene Wenger. He was one of those players whom only Wenger could coach and teach. The France international has even acknowledged that Wenger taught him everything. He already has seven years of top flight experience, and is still only 25!

Arsenal fans will refer to his last two years and say that it isn’t surprising he left. In the last two seasons he was error-prone and his positioning was regularly disappointing. He was always an average marker and never really a threat going forward. But he was someone with terrific pace and was a real force during counter-attacks, and I have always had the feeling that he enjoyed the big matches. Yes, he did make some high-profile mistakes, but he wasn’t one to go missing in the big moments. Who doesn’t make mistakes? Even the best will have their off days. But I feel it is his experience Arsenal will miss.

A Gunner for seven years, he was used to our system and would have certainly helped if the expected changes in the back-line do ensue this summer. Though he wasn’t the greatest crosser, when we were in need of a goal, he would commit himself forward and that means an extra body for the opposition to mark. He was the one who provided the assist for Robin van Persie’s goal against Barca at the Emirates last season, right?

If Wenger fails to replace him, we’ll miss him hugely because, personally, I don’t believe Gibbs is ready for the big stage yet. If someone arrives and puts in solid performances, Wenger will be able to dedicate his time on other pressing issues. But it will take us time to get used to a new player and he too will need time to fit into the team.

Perhaps Wenger will unearth another unknown talent and convert him into a world-class player!

I don’t think we will miss Clichy too much to be honest, not his football anyway.

His error-prone, yet aggressive style will be replaced with a more solid, defence minded player, here’s hoping. But we’ll miss him as a person, as a highly experienced 25-year-old, who was the last of our ‘Invincible’ side of 2004.

Written by Vivek Arulnathan for Gunnersphere.com. Like what you read? Then follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/gunnerviv

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5 comments

  • HeavyRiffs says:

    “He slipped into the shoes of money grabbing Ashley Cole” Oh dear, either that, or maybe he’s gone to a club that can actually challenge for the title and some trophies?

  • naz says:

    Wenger does not teach defence. Clichy would not have improveed further under Wenger. The last two years is Wenger’s fault for failing to address an under performing player through a more focused training regime. Its sad that we totally abdicate defence. You could throw four world class defenders together but you need a coach to teach them to play as a unit.

    Why sell to a rival though? Where is the logic?

  • Maxxi says:

    well regardless any big name City might capture,,
    to me Gael Clichy is a massive signing under Mancini’s guide i have no doubts Clichy will deliver in style..i rate him and i’m all over the moon for his signing,

    while you wont miss him much his errors and aggression. i will celebrate him enjoy watching and
    him,,,, tho i’m eager to ask a question, Arsenal back 4 who was better then Clichy?

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