Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs is wasting away while he sits behind Nacho Monreal. But, what should be done with the talented Englishman?
Apart of assembling a squad capable of challenging for the title is having squad players that are capable of standing in when starters are injured, suspended or unavailable. These squad players, however, need to be up to standard.
At the start of the year, it is never known how many games they may be required for, and ultimately, you have to have players who are able to perform at a high level for the whole year. The issue always comes when the starter is a reliable and consistent player, someone who very rarely missed any games.
This often results in fall outs, as there is a talented player, someone who believes in their own quality, not playing regular, first team football. At some point, all players must find their level to be playing regularly. Kieran Gibbs is now at this point, and it could be a problem for Arsenal.
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Nacho Monreal has been magnificent this past year. After beating out Gibbs over what seemed like a two season long battle for the number one left back position, Monreal proceeded to have an extremely solid season. Defensively, he is must improved. His tackling is sure and confident, his positional play has clearly benefited from his years of adapting to the Premier League and he is more dangerous going forward, especially when Alexis Sanchez plays on the left flank before him.
Such improvements from the Spanish international, though, have come at the cost of the development of Kieran Gibbs. After the departure of Gael Clichy to Manchester City, Gibbs was expected to become the starting left back, and, at first, he did graduate into a more permanent role. However, unfortunately as so often with Arsenal youngsters, Gibbs has suffered repeated injuries. None of these injuries have been major. They, have, however, been of the niggling variety, preventing him from having a decent run of games.
It is these injuries that have prevented Gibbs from discovering his true potential. When playing reguarly, match sharp and in form, he is one of the best left backs in the Premier League. Athletic, quick and powerful, defensively sound with an ability to overlap the winger, there is nothing he cannot do, apart from one crucial thing: stay fit.
Gibbs’ injuries have cost him his place in the starting eleven, he is now well behind Monreal in the pecking order and is likely to stay sat on the bench for some time disregarding a long term injury for the Spaniard. Gibbs’ career with the Gunners has petered out and now, at the age of 26, it is unlikely that he is going to fulfill his great potential that he once had. That is a great shame, but it is part and parcel of modern day football.
Gibbs will unlikely be sold this Summer. However, if he asks for a transfer away from the Emirates, it would not be a surprise. He is in the prime of his career and needs assurances of regular football. At Arsenal, he is not going to get that, and he may be forced to look elsewhere.