The transfer market can often be a time of great joy.
Many young football fans take pleasure in the copious rumours and the potentially great players who could be on the verge of signing for their club. They ingest gossip for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They dream about signing that world class striker or unearthing a hidden gem from an unknown league.
Other fans despise it.
The innumerable lies that are given credence by top journalists crediting reports to an unknown source. Some fans dread it as they are often picked apart by the vultures from the leagues above or the teams with more money.
There are a number of clubs in the Premier League who seem to have quite a cordial relationship. Until the Virgil van Dijk fiasco, Liverpool and Southampton seemed happy to deal with each other. Although Spurs fans are probably sick of it, Tottenham Hotspurs have always been willing to sell their best and brightest to Manchester United for the right price. Manchester City have had a genial relationship with Arsenal given the extreme amounts of money they have willingly spent on fairly average Arsenal players.
On the other hand, there are of course a few clubs that rarely ever deal with each other: Arsenal and Spurs; Everton and Liverpool; and Manchester United and Manchester City. However, outside of inner city rivalries – there seems to be a willingness to buy and sell with each and every club.
Arsenal have always had an amiable relationship with Newcastle United and it seems that they are set to renew their working rapport with the sale of Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs. The Englishman, whilst an admirable servant to the club, will not be mourned when he leaves for pastures new. Despite captaining Arsenal this season, he is one of a few players who frequently gets targeted by fans for poor performances.
However, he would represent a solid purchase for the North East club. He is technically sound, full of energy and can play at left back or higher up the pitch.
Gibbs would not be the first transfer between said clubs.
In 2014, Arsenal procured the services of French full back Mathieu Debuchy. Despite being a fans’ favourite amongst the Geordie contingent, the prospect of Champions League football was enough to lure the right back away. Debuchy was a solid addition to Arsenal’s squad.
Unfortunately halfway through his first season the Frenchman was injured at the hands of a Stoke player who pushed the Arsenal man over advertising boards, resulting in a dislocated shoulder. Debuchy, although limited in ability, would have been remembered more fondly if he hadn’t angled for a move so openly and become such a disruptive influence.
Of course, the Arsenal-Newcastle trading route was not solely one way. In 2010, following a six month stint at Arsenal, Sol Campbell signed for the Magpies in a two year deal. He had served Arsenal admirably in those few short months prior to his move. But it was clear that he was not fit for a title challenge. A move to a mid-table club suited both parties: Newcastle obtained a knowledgeable and quite useful central defender and Campbell was allowed to continue his playing career at an elite club.
Another defender who made the journey from London to Newcastle was the great Kenny Samson. The left back who played 394 games for Arsenal found himself isolated by George Graham in the 1988-89 season. A young Lee Dixon was signed to replace Nigel Winterburn at right back, who accordingly shuffled to left back, leaving the senior Kenny Samson on the bench. Samson had captained Arsenal in the ’87 season and was honoured as Arsenal Player of the Year in 1981. Unfortunately, after his time at Arsenal, Samson became a bit of a nomad – featuring for nine different clubs in the space of six years with Newcastle being the first to offer the left back an opportunity.
Naturally, it has not just been ageing defenders Newcastle have sought from within Arsenal ranks. In 2016, despite playing very few games for Arsenal, Newcastle saw enough in Isaac Hayden to take a chance on him. The Newcastle midfielder has made 32 appearances for the club this season, helping them to re-establish the Magpies in the Premier League. For a very minimal fee, Newcastle received a well-rounded, young midfielder.
Of course, looking back into the history between the two clubs, things haven’t always been so amicable.
In 1976, Arsenal managed to persuade Tyneside superstar Malcolm Macdonald to trade in the white and black of Newcastle for the red and white of Arsenal. ‘SuperMac’ as he was aptly called, had been Newcastle’s top scorer for five seasons on the trot. His first season with Arsenal was no different as he notched 29 goals. His second season looked to be heading in a similar manner until a knee injury caused his form to dip. Although he scored 57 goals in 108 games, the injury would ultimately hinder Macdonald in the rest of his Arsenal career where he ended his British footballing days.
Like so many of the deals in the past, Gibbs to Newcastle seems to suit all parties. If the deal goes through, the Newcastle have acquired a very handy player.