With news that Carl Jenkinson is expected to leave the club in the coming days, as well as uncertainty over Mathieu Debuchy’s future at Arsenal, this article assesses the Gunners’ options at right-back.
Hector Bellerín is the first-choice option at right-back and as the talented Spaniard continues to develop with experience, it’s clear that he is expected to make that position his own in the long-term having signed a contract extension before Christmas.
Debuchy has made public his disappointment in regards to a lack of regular minutes and that won’t be resolved unless he leaves. Gabriel deputised well during Bellerín’s absence and what he may lack in terms of raw acceleration when compared to the 21-year-old, he makes up for with his physical presence and aerial duels.
The 26-year-old Brazilian has a no-nonsense style of play which is admirable but equally means he takes more risks – something that sees him criticised when his calculated decisions fail. With that being said, he’ll be glad to start on a more frequent basis knowing that his versatility is being rewarded.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is another player who has shown the capability to play at right-back, having featured there on two occasions there in cup fixtures this term. The 19-year-old, who is predominantly a more attack-minded midfielder, has been involved in matchday squads with the senior side in recent weeks and is being rewarded having impressed with the u23s earlier this season.
It’s clear that youngsters in the same age-group as AMN are eager and aspiring to earn first-team minutes over time regardless of the competition, so are naturally prepared to play away from their preferred positions in order to impress the boss and consequently earn more recognition from senior coaches as a result.
Given the depth in this position, it’s highly unlikely that Arsenal will make an approach to sign another right-back with Wenger showing faith in his current options here.