Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has given his opinion on Kieran Gibbs’ future with the Gunners, and suggested his days in north London are numbered.
Gibbs, 27, has been heavily linked with a permanent move away from the Emirates over the past season or two. Sead Kolasinac’s arrival on a free transfer earlier this summer has only intensified claims that Gibbs will leave at some stage before the forthcoming campaign, especially as Nacho Monreal has been preferred to the Englishman in the pecking order.
Gibbs made 22 appearances across all competitions last season and newly-promoted Newcastle have been linked with a move for the experienced defender, whose development has stalled regularly as a result of troublesome injuries.
Earlier this month, we covered a report which said Rafa Benitez is willing to make an £8m bid for Gibbs, though a potential stumbling block is his current £70kpw wages in north London.
When questioned by bwin about Gibbs amid speculation surrounding his future, the former defender said, “I think there comes a point in every player’s career where you have to make a decision on the amount of game time you believe you are going to realistically play.
“I would suggest that maybe Monreal would be first choice for the left-back position, and Kieran has always been a little bit of a back-up. Then you bring in another new left-back, you start to ask questions of yourself and ‘where does that put me?’. My gut feeling is that Kieran will move on at some stage, whether it will be before the season starts or whether it will be in the January transfer window.
Gibbs has been at Arsenal for over a decade and you can excuse his reluctance to leave.
The fact that he only has a year remaining on his existing deal and Arsenal haven’t offered him an extension yet suggests they’re preparing to sell though.
“He doesn’t have to move straight away if he doesn’t feel it is right for him at the moment,” Winterburn continued.
“He can sit on his contract and wait to see how things are developing for Arsenal and then for different clubs coming in and if not this transfer (window), than maybe January. Maybe he just wants to see what happens and how much game time he gets.
“It’s very rare that you have three left-backs at a football club, so if you look at it from that point of view, I think that Kieran will move on.
“When that becomes public, he will have to look at the teams and the quality of who are coming in and where he wants to go.“