The rumour that Arsenal have apparently turned down the chance to loan out Kieran Gibbs to West Ham has churned up the age-old question (well, not that old): what should the Gunners do with Kieran Gibbs?
I like Gibbo; I think he’s a good sort and a loyal lad. However, at the age of 26, a lot more has and should be expected of him. The thing is, other than a three-year stint at Wimbledon in his youth and a year on loan at Norwich in 2008, he’s an Arsenal boy through-and-through. He clearly loves the club but you have to imagine even he’s starting to wonder whether he’s on borrowed time.
He has been unlucky. He’s spent a huge amount of time sidelined through injury. Last season, he only featured in 15 Premier League games and only one of these was for a full 90 minutes (Spurs away, in case you’re wondering). Last season, it was 22; before that, 28 and during the 2012/13 season, he played 27 times. Going even further back, he made just 16 Premier League appearances. You get the picture. This isn’t a player who has been struck with injury over the past couple of seasons but we have valid reason to expect he will return fighting fit and ready to challenge for a first-team position, this is a player whose entire career at Arsenal has been plagued. He’s spent so much time on the sideline, it’s little wonder his progress has halted.
His England career has been just as scarce – only 10 appearances for the senior side EVER.
The thing is, he’s not a bad left-back. Going forward especially, he can be brilliant, but getting to witness these flashes of skill is getting increasingly difficult because he’s never fit. Then, when he is given a start in an FA Cup or – more likely – League Cup game, he’s slightly off the pace, rusty and wasteful. He’s so eager to prove he’s a good player and worthy of wearing the cannon on his chest that he makes silly decisions and Twitter is once again full of people wondering why Arsene Wenger gave him the nod in the first place. Back he goes to the bench and the cycle continues.
Something that hasn’t helped Gibbs’ cause is the emergence of the ever-reliable Nacho Monreal. All he needed was a chance and he’s proven why he deserves that starting spot – no one can question that.
With this in mind, should we be looking to sell Gibbs? I don’t think so. I do think he can be an asset, although maybe not a valuable one. I wouldn’t argue to him going out on loan, in fact, I think that could be brilliant for him if he can stay fit, which, let’s face it, isn’t too likely.
At Arsenal, we do have an alarming amount of right-backs, or players that can fill in at right-back, but not many left-backs. There was talk of us buying Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez but that rumour seems to have floated away like a fart in the wind. Therefore, it’s probably worth considering that Wenger is giving Gibbs another chance.
Like Theo Walcott, this is most likely last chance saloon for Gibbo and as sad as it is, him leaving might be best for not only Arsenal but him as a player.
Saying that, I’m a softie so I say give him one more season. Then we’ll see.