Friday, 13 January 2012

Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Seven Left-Backs Linked To Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has stated his desire to bring a left-back into the Arsenal squad during the current transfer window. Due to a combination of injuries to all of the club's full-backs Arsenal find themselves having to play central defenders in the wide roles at the moment.

It has affected the team's performance in recent games, as the balance of the team has just not been right. The sooner the better Arsenal can bring in a full-back on a temporary basis, and I would even be happy if they signed one permanently.

The long term fitness of Kieran Gibbs cannot be guaranteed in my opinion and if the right player becomes available I think Arsenal should go for him. The media is obviously awash with transfer rumours at the moment, and I'll attempt to analyse a few of them here.

1: Wayne Bridge

Wayne Bridge has been frozen out of the picture at Manchester City and he is looking for a new club at the moment. He has 36 caps for England at left-back and he has plenty of Champions League experience too. On the face of it he looks to be the ideal man to help to solve Arsenal's defensive problems.

He has been linked with a move to Arsenal in the current transfer window and if they are actually interested in him I'm sure City would be prepared to do a deal. Arsene Wenger has said he's not too sure about signing a defender who has been out of favour at his own club, as it would take him a few weeks to return to full match fitness. Bridge would fit into that category and it could mean his chances of joining Arsenal are slim.

When Bridge was on loan to West Ham last season he looked far from the player he was a few years ago. He has had problems in his personal life and a permanent transfer could be a risky move for Arsenal. I doubt if Arsenal could match the wages he earns at City, and the only possibility might be for him to join them on loan for the rest of the season.

Bridge might consider his chances to be very limited when Andre Santos returns in a couple of months, but if he has belief in his own ability the prospect of joining Arsenal should appeal to him. I'm not too sure if City would be prepared to loan him to Arsenal, but he is one of the few players actually available at the moment.

After reading what Wenger said about signing a player out of favour at his own club I don't think Arsenal have a genuine interest in Bridge.

2: Eric Abidal

Eric Abidal is currently a Barcelona player, but his appearances this season have been limited to covering for other players who have been injured. He has recently been linked with a move to Arsenal, as they search for a solution to their injury problems in defence.

Abidal is a very good player with loads of experience and he can play at left back or in central defence. He would be a very good buy for Arsenal, but I don't imagine that Barcelona would be prepared to loan him to them.

If Arsenal were to sign him I think he would automatically become first choice at left back and that would not only relegate Santos, but hamper the progress of Gibbs too. Abidal is 32 years old and he looks to have a few good years left in him yet despite his health problems last year.

I would be more than happy if Arsenal managed to sign Abidal on a loan deal or a permanent move, as I think he would improve the team and the squad. That should be one of the most important criteria for Wenger as he continues his search.

3: Kieran Richardson

With the need for a left-back of immediate importance to Arsenal they have been linked with a move for Sunderland's Kieran Richardson despite his club denying the rumours. Richardson signed for Sunderland as a midfielder, but he has spent a lot of his time at the club as a left-back.

He is 27 years old and he has plenty of Premier League experience, as well a s a few English international caps. His ability to attack from a left-back role would be a great asset to an Arsenal team that are missing their attacking full-backs at the moment.

I would be surprised if Sunderland agreed to loan him to Arsenal, as he is a member of their current starting 11. Since Martin O'Neill took over at Sunderland a few weeks ago they have improved greatly and I doubt if O'Neill would like to see him leave.

Arsenal could possibly test Sunderland's resolve with a bid for a permanent move, but otherwise I think he will stay where he is.

4: Taye Taiwo

Taye Taiwo is a 26 year-old left-back who currently plays with AC Milan in Italy. He has recently been linked with a move to Arsenal, as they continue their search for a defender in the January transfer window. He joined Milan last summer from Marseille, but his chances have been very limited since then.

With the player currently out of favour at Milan there is a chance that Arsenal could be able to bring him in on a loan move or even permanently. He's another player who might expect to get a regular place in the Arsenal team, but if he isn't match fit they would have to wait to play him.

The decision whether to move for him or not is Wenger's, but I think Arsenal won't be too interested in a player that probably wouldn't be available before Kieran Gibbs returns.

5: Aymen Abdennour

Another player Arsenal have been linked to in the current transfer window is 22 year-old Toulouse defender Aymen Abdennour. He's a player who can play as a left-winger or a left-back and he looks like he's a real real prospect for the future.

He's also a current member of the Tunisian team that are involved in the African Cup of Nations. His involvement with his national team would surely have to rule out any interest Arsenal have in the player, as he would not be available for at least another month.

I can't imagine that Wenger would buy or loan a player to solve their current difficulties that can't play immediately. If Arsenal are genuinely interested in the player they will have to wait until a later date to make their move.

6: Luke Shaw

Arsenal are in need of a left-back who can step straight into their team, but that hasn't stopped them being linked with Southampton's Luke Shaw. Shaw is a 16 year-old left-back who looks like he has a very bright future in football.

However, Arsenal need a player that can step straight into their first team, but Shaw has not even played for Southampton's first team yet. If Arsenal are actually interested in Shaw it is as a player for the future and he is not the player they need right now.

Southampton have produced some very good players from their academy in recent years, and Shaw could be the latest in a long list. Maybe Arsenal should look at what scouts Southampton are employing, or what methods they are using to nurture the young talent in their academy.

7: Ally Cissokho

Ally Cissokho is a 24 year-old left-back who plays with Lyon in France. He has recently been linked with a move to Arsenal, but Lyon are not keen to loan their player. If Arsenal are to sign Cissokho it looks like they will have to buy him.

He's another player who might have a genuine chance of getting into the Arsenal team if he is signed, but Wenger's unwillingness to sign a player on a permanent deal will probably mean he stays with Lyon. He has played for France on one occasion, and he has been on the fringes of the French team for a couple of years.

I would be very surprised if Arsenal spent close to €10 million on a player when Wenger feels he has adequate cover at left back once the injury crisis is over. He will more than likely attempt to bring somebody in on loan, but I have a feeling Arsenal won't actually sign a left-back at all.

If I had to choose a player out of all those I have profiled I think Abidal might be the best option. He would be match fit which would mean he could play immediately, and he would add some genuine quality to the squad too.

That's it for today.

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