Due to the constant speculation and rumors that Gael Clichy won’t renew his contract and will leave this summer, I decided to make this list of 10 players who could possibly replace Clichy at Arsenal. These suggestions and possibilities are based on how heavily they’re linked to the Gunners and of course, their playing ability and quality.
1. Aly Cissokho- Age: 23- Height: 5’11”- Nation: France- Club: Olympique Lyon
A powerful left back, known for his physical capabilities and his constant forward bombardments. Cissokho is one of the most highly-rated fullbacks in world football, who first grabbed the eye with his memorable performances in the two-legged second round Champions League match against Manchester United while at Porto. He impressed against then Man United player and star Cristiano Ronaldo, who was given a hard time by the French fullback. Cissokho is now a French international and is wanted by many clubs all over Europe. He’s a quality player, who attacks with venom as well as being more than a capable defender who can handle his own against the best. Cissokho is more than ready to play in the big leagues and his valuation in my opinion, is in excess of £12 million.
2. Jose Enrique- Age: 25- Height: 6’0″- Nation: Spain- Club: Newcastle
A reliable player, Jose Enrique is being touted to leave Newcastle this season and is interesting some of the best in the Premier League. Jose Enrique is known for his consistency, reliability, being a great crosser and being an able defender who can defend stoutly. Jose Enrique is valued by his club at around £15 million, which is inflated in my opinion as his value is closer to £8-10 million.
3. Leighton Baines- Age: 26- Height: 5’6″- Nation: England- Club: Everton
Definitely the most popular target by many Gooners, Baines has become one of the best left backs in the league and was the best this season. Baines is known for his tremendous work ethic, consistency, reliability, being great in both ends; defensively and attack-wise, as well as possessing a tremendous left foot and a great crosser. He is now a regular England international. Everton reportedly value him at £25 million and are also known for being tough negotiators, but nonetheless he’s a quality left back and player.
4. Maynor Figueroa- Age: 28- Height: 5’11”- Nation: Honduras- Club: Wigan Athletic
The player known for his 60-yard wonder goal vs Stoke, Maynor Figueroa has long been admired by the top clubs for a long time. The Honduran is known for his solid defending, reliability, as well as possessing a superb left foot, displayed by his stunner against Stoke City. Figueroa is reportedly valued at £8 million.
Video of THAT goal against Stoke City:
5. Benoit Tremoulinas- Age: 25- Height: 5’8″- Nation: France- Club: Bordeaux
A very talented left back that is heavily touted to leave Bordeaux, Benoit Tremoulinas is a gifted full back known for his work rate, consistency, being great at both ends of the field, and for his superb crossing which has given former teammate Marouane Chamakh a good amount of goals. Tremoulinas is a target for many top clubs around Europe and is now a French international. In my opinion, it’ll take an offer in excess of £10 million to persuade his club to let him go.
6. Emilio Izaguirre- Age: 25- Height: 5’10”- Nation: Honduras- Club: Celtic
One of the best signings of the SPL this season, Emilio Izaguirre has made a huge impact with Celtic, and has endeared himself to the fans with his exciting attacking play and great performances. Izaguirre is a player known for his tireless running and his constant forward bombardments. He’s a good crosser and is a threat going forward. He can sometimes be a liability in defence due to his constant forward forays, but overall he’s an exciting player who can play for a top club in a Europe. His transfer value is around £10 million.
7. Pablo Armero- Age: 24- Height: 5’8″- Nation: Colombia- Club: Udinese
A powerful wing back known for his physicality, skill with the ball and his excellent runs forward. Pablo Armero is an exciting player who has been excellent this season in Serie A, and is one of the reasons for Udinese getting into the Champions League qualifiers. Armero has been linked and is interesting some of the best clubs in Europe, and can also play equally well as a left winger. He would probably cost around £12-15 million.
8. Federico Balzaretti- Age: 29- Height: 5’10”- Nation: Italy- Club: Palermo
The reliable and consistent Italian international Federico Balzaretti is touted to move on this summer and there will be a number of clubs interested. Balzaretti is a player known for his constant bombardments going forward and providing excellent crosses. He’s not only good attack wise, but does a good job defensively as well, and is a reliable and consistent player. He is valued in between £7-10 million.
Here’s a video displaying his talents, but it shows mostly his attacking side:
9. Kieran Gibbs- Age: 21- Height: 5’11”- Nation: England
A player expected to be the future left back for both the Gunners and England, Kieran Gibbs is considered as one of England’s brightest talents and is highly rated by many. Gibbs certainly has the talent and potential to become an excellent full back, but he has suffered a lot with a spate of injuries which has slowed his progress down. Many Gooners don’t see him as a suitable replacement for Clichy, and is considered to be more of a winger than a fullback. I believe that Gibbs has the ability to play that role and become an excellent fullback, but he needs to get games and to stay fit. For now though, he’s not ready.
10. Thomas Vermaelen- Age: 25- Height: 5’11”- Nation: Belgium
A far-fetched option that is being suggested due to speculation of potential defensive deals. Vermaelen has played before as left back with his previous club, Ajax, and is a solid option. Vermaelen has the pace, the defensive ability, as well as possessing an excellent left foot. Despite that, I doubt that Wenger would utilize that option; Vermaelen is a quality central defender… nothing less, nothing more.
What do you think? Are any of these targets good enough to replace Clichy? Is Gibbs ready to be a regular full back with the Gunners? Should Vermaelen be considered as an option? Please share your thoughts and opinions.