Talks with Gael Clichy now seem to be coming to a close with it being reported that the players agent has walked away from the discussions over a supposed lack of flexibility in wage demands. Clichy is contracted to the club until 2012, so if a deal were not agreed Arsene Wenger could face the possibility of losing his attacking left back for nothing in just over a years time.
Clichy who is now in his 8th season with the club signed for Arsenal in 2003 and went on to become the sides first choice left back after the departure of England international and everyones favourite player Ashley Cole. In the last 12 months, Clichy has shown great improvements and will soon be entering the prime of his career.
The conundrum for Wenger however is the potential of young Englishman Kieran Gibbs, if the Emirates boss believes that Gibbs can fill the boots of the Frenchman then he may be tempted to sell this Summer and cash in rather than run the risk of him moving for nothing when his contract expires.
It is thought that his agent will approach Liverpool and Gunners arch-rivals Spurs in an attempt to force their hand into offering him an improved contract. There has also been interest on the continent from both Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have now accepted defeat in their attempts to sign Manchester United full back Patrice Evra.
Of the English clubs, Liverpool are in need of a left back, they have recently been deploying Glen Johnson there with a good degree of success but that is not really a long term solution, so a move from the Anfield club could be highly likely should contract negotiations not improve before the Summer. Fierce local rivals Tottenham will also be interested, whilst Benoit Assou-Ekotto divides opinions amongst football fans I think it is fair to say that Clichy would be an upgrade and he could be the latest Frenchman to cross the North London divide after WIlliam Gallas made the move to White Hart Lane.
Arsene Wenger and his colleagues will have to consider carefully whether Gibbs is ready to step into the boots of Clichy, he is a very good left back and he is a solid performer at the Emirates, while it isn’t right that he should be held to ransom by the Frenchman and his representatives, he may need to tread carefully.
Personally I don’t believe that Gibbs is ready quite yet but in 18months he may very well be, I would be wary of offering Clichy a long term contract but in the short term he could really do with the 25 year old to stick around. It is a really quandary and it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
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