Arsene Wenger revealed that he could use a week’s extension on the transfer window which slams shut at 11pm this evening, after first-choice left-back Kieran Gibbs picked up a thigh injury in last night’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Gibbs pulled up in the first half of last night’s game with a thigh strain that looks set to keep him side-lined for three weeks. He was replaced by Andre Santos whose defensive capabilities are a serious concern for the manager.
Gibbs has a long and frustrating injury record and with Santos as his only cover, Wenger may be forced to, as it has been suggested he has already asked for, a deadline day scouting network to look for a last-minute left-back.
Baines has been linked in the run up to the January window with potential moves to Manchester United and Arsenal to a lesser extent – he would wouldn’t come cheap but Wenger may feel roughly £20 million would be money well spent and if a bid of that proportion came in, Everton boss David Moyes might be a little less reluctant to let one of his best players go.
Southampton’s Luke Shaw was the subject of transfer speculation at the beginning of the window with rumours surfacing that Arsenal were interested in signing another gem from the Saints’ youth academy.
At 17 years old, Shaw is already a quality player and, with experience he is only going to improve. He has the potential to become one of the best in the country. However, Southampton reportedly rejected enquiries from Arsenal earlier this month.
However, new manager Mauricio Pochettino may feel more inclined to do business with Wenger. He’s valued at £4 million which would be a real bargain for the Gunners.
Likewise, Norwich City’s 22-year-old English youngster is Ryan Bennett who will certainly be snapped up by a top-four club in the near future. Bennett has the potential to become a star defender at a top club and, although he has learned his trade as a centre-back, he has some decent experience on the left side of the back four.
He’s fast, his tackling is high standard, he’s 6ft2”, and is on the outskirts of the England setup. He would be another great British addition to the young starlets that Arsenal already have and with the departure of Johan Djourou, he could also prove a very reliable option in central defence, where currently Sebastian Squilacci is dangerously close to the first-team.
Another future England star is Liverpool’s Jack Robinson – the 19-year-old currently has a number of young players ahead of his in the pecking order at the Reds and, whilst manager Brendan Rodgers might be inclined to let him go out on loan to get some Premier League experience. In the U21 Premier League he’s notched up 3 goals and an assist in just 8 appearances.
If Arsenal fail to find players of the required quality to come in on deadline day they may have one other option within their ranks – captain Thomas Vermaelen has enough decent experience as a left-back from a couple of starts there this season and his previous club Ajax.
Vermaelen isn’t the ideal choice – although he is fast and his tackling is good, he’s not as technically gifted going forward as Gibbs is, especially if Wenger is looking for someone to link up with Lukas Podolski. However, with Bayern Munich coming up in the Champion’s League, Wenger may prefer to move his skipper than risk playing Santos. Either way, his current options are limited.
image: © Ronnie Macdonal