4 left-backs Arsenal should target this summer

  • Arsenal set to sign left sided defender this summer
  • Gunners could do with flying full-back capable of hugging touchline
  • Club has strong interest in Ajax teenager Jorrel Hato
Alphonso Davies would be the dream left-back signing
Alphonso Davies would be the dream left-back signing / BSR Agency/GettyImages

The return to full fitness of Jurrien Timber is unlikely to deter Arsenal in their pursuit of a left sided defender this summer.

Mikel Arteta's fetish for versatility means the Gunners currently boast a litany of options capable of fulfilling various left-back functions. Oleksandr Zinchenko's the most comfortable inverting, Jakub Kiwior can offer balance and allow Ben White to surge forward, while both Timber and Tomiyasu can do it all.

The returning-from-loan duo of Kieran Tierney and Nuno Tavares are better suited to an up-and-down full-back role, but neither are likely to be in north London come the start of 2024/25.

Timber's mastery of multiple defensive roles means Arteta won't limit the multi-faceted Dutchman to one function. Reports suggest the boss is searching for a specialist, and there's set to be another evolution at the left-back position this summer.

But who could the Gunners sign? Here are four options.

1. Jorrel Hato

Dutch EredivisieAFC Ajax Amsterdam v Almere City FC
Hato recently signed a contract extension at Ajax / ANP/GettyImages

Arsenal's interest in the Ajax teenager is well-documented, with the club contemplating a move for Hato in the January window.

A move never came close to transpiring, and the 18-year-old has since signed a contract extension in Amsterdam - rendering a summer move more tricky (certainly more expensive) for the Gunners. Ajax don't want to let him go, although the clubs should be on pretty good terms having negotiated Timber's transfer without too much hassle.

While Ajax eventually recovered, Hato was a bright spark in an otherwise gloomy season for the Dutch giants. The 18-year-old possessed leadership qualities well beyond his years and is the prototypical Ajax academy product boasting sound technique across the board.

He excels in possession and is equally adept at centre-back. Hato's shifty turn of pace means he's well-suited to defending in an aggressive defensive line. Moreover, the upside is huge.

2. Rayan Ait-Nouri

Rayan Ait-Nouri, Trent Alexander-Arnold
Ait-Nouri enjoyed a superb season with Wolves / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Shopping in the Premier League market is always encouraged, and Arsenal have excelled on the recruitment front when signing players with which they're most familiar.

Ben White, Kai Havertz, Leandro Trossard, and Declan Rice are among the key components of Mikel Arteta's project to have been signed from Premier League clubs.

Given the intricacies involved with usurping Manchester City, Arsenal can ill-afford to go astray this summer. Thus, the addition of a Premier League proven left-back may be the smartest move.

Ait-Nouri was once regarded as a streaky operator at Molineux, but he blossomed into one of the division's best full-backs last season. He's a freakish talent who can pretty much do it all in possession. The Algerian can aid a team's build-up from central positions, take on opponents down the touchline, and have a notable influence in the final third.

For all his brilliance in possession, some supporters may have some concerns defensively. However, Ait-Nouri, aided by the diligent coaching of Gary O'Neil, came on leaps and bounds in this regard last season.

3. Miguel Gutierrez

Miguel Guiterrez
Gutierrez is a unicorn left-back / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

You want to talk about archetypal contemporary full-backs? Well, look no further than Girona's Miguel Gutierrez.

Michel's tactical chameleons from Catalonia emerged as one of the stories of the 2023/24 season as they led the way in La Liga during the first half of the season before securing their first-ever Champions League berth.

Michel was able to reach such tremendous heights with a squad full of players unfamiliar to many. Gutierrez was one who saw his stock rise exponentially.

He performed an utterly unique left-back role which was so much more than merely inverting. The Spaniard would often pop up in advanced positions in the left half-space and would occasionally find himself running in behind defences like an inside forward. Gutierrez recorded nine La Liga goal contributions as a result, with his comfort in possession distinct.

Arteta would LOVE this unicorn left-back, and he'd add another dimension to the Gunners with the ball. However, his capacity to defend the transition would come under heavy scrutiny, as would his ability in big away games to defend in a compact block. Gutierrez is certainly a luxury option.

4. Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies
Davies is eyeing a move to Real Madrid / Stefan Matzke - sampics/GettyImages

We know Arteta loves his centre-backs-cum-full-backs, but this would surely be the dream option, right?

Davies - strike at the Bernabeu notwithstanding - endured a disappointing second half to 2023/24, but many have cited his future plans as key in any perceived drop off. The Canadian superstar is keen on a move to Real Madrid, rendering a move elsewhere unlikely.

But, if Arsenal want to reach the top table, these are the sort of moves they're going to have to make. They've got to be bold. Test the waters, at least.

Davies is nothing short of unstoppable in full cry and is the best up-and-down full-back on the planet. His recovery speed is off the charts, and his continued improvement as a one-v-one defender were clear to see in the first leg of Bayern Munich's clash with Arsenal in the Champions League quarter-finals.

While unlikely, this would be a statement move if ever I've seen one.