West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has admitted ex-Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs cost even less than the fee being reported.
Gibbs ended his lengthy stint with Arsenal to West Brom in a deal that was thought to be worth £7m. However, according to Pulis, the fee may have been cheaper than initially reported.
“The £12m Arsenal were talking about at the beginning of the season was too expensive,” Pulis said, reports the Daily Star. “To get him for £5m over a period of time now is a good deal for us.”
Gibbs’ future at Arsenal became clear after former Schalke left-back Sead Kolasinac was signed on a free transfer before the summer window had even opened.
The long-serving Arsenal man spent all summer without playing a single pre-season game while the Gunners waited for offers close to their £15m valuation. They never came, and Arsenal were eventually forced to accept a cut-price deal towards the end of the summer.
Gibbs made his West Brom debut in the 3-1 defeat to Brighton and Pulis is already talking about beefing him up. “We’ve got to get him fit. He’s struggled with injuries over a period and that’s been a big factor at times in his career,” he added.
“He’s a racehorse – he’s quick but he’s different to (Grzegorz Krychowiak) and (Oliver Burke), who are a lot stronger physically. So we’re going to have to make sure Gibbo knows what you have to do to maintain your fitness at this level.”
Gibbs’ Arsenal career was certainly affected by injuries. His progress was frequently halted by fitness setbacks and that ultimately encouraged Arsenal sign another first team left-back to take his place.
He never complained about his squad player status and was an able back-up. However, it was that acceptance of being cover that held him back from really improving, I feel.