Of the first team player’s whose future is open to question, Gael Clichy is deemed the most expendable. Clichy, it seems, is surplus to requirements and valued at around £8m. He has chosen not to renew his contract and that is his choice. In terms of how he has conducted himself, Clichy has been exemplary. No complaints in the media, no bitching that he wants more money. Just getting on with seeking a new adventure.
Liverpool’s recent bid is the only confirmed interest although Roma were rumoured to be a potential suitor. Hardly a ringing endorsement of a player who many believe will be easily replaced. The primary target seems to be Leighton Baines. For primary, read only. That was until yesterday when The Times claimed that Arsenal had already spoken with Jose Enrique’s Mr20%. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.
Of course there are internal candidates but each has their weaknesses. Kieran Gibbs is inexperienced and when on first team duty, has shown some dubious positional knowledge. Thomas Vermaelen is sometimes touted as a left back but was purchased as a centre back and to be honest, I would doubt that he would be as effective as a full back.
If you look at the squad, the depth is thin for this position.
Clichy is not perfect and not an entirely modern full back where attacking ability is rated as highly as defensive. His crossing is inconsistent but his shooting is consistent. Consistently bad. Then again not one of the modern left backs of Arsenal has been a goalscorer on a regular basis. They were more of a threat than Clichy.
Equally he can be caught out of position defensively but Clichy suffers from a smeared reputation. It seems that the Frenchman has never been forgiven for St Andrews in 2008.
Let’s be clear about this; Clichy did not commit a foul in the final minute to concede the penalty which started that season’s collapse. It was a perfectly timed challenge except the usual incompetence from Mike Dean meant he and Arsenal were punished. For a crime they did not commit. And since then Clichy has been blamed for anything and everything. Looking at some of the criticism, it seems that Gael is the sole reason why Arsenal cannot defend.
He has been inconsistent in his performances but no more so than any other defender. Considerably more consistent that others. They are lambasted and demands are made for them to be sold. But why is there little said in defence of Clichy? Does he suffer from replacing Ashley Cole? Few Arsenal fans like Cole for the manner of his departure from the club but who is to say he would have brought any consistency to the defence had he stayed. Indeed would we be substituting his name for Clichy’s?
It is impossible to blame or commend one person for defensive frailties or improvements. Constant reshuffles through injury will negatively impact a record in much the same way as a bad player. In Clichy’s case, he is not a bad player. You do not get to be a French international, albeit in a poor side by recent standards, if you are bad.
Will Clichy be here at the end of the summer? It seems unlikely and it seems, very harshly, that not many will miss him.
Posted on June 20, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 190 Comments.