The unreliable fitness levels of Arsenal’s left-back options this season could force them into the transfer market this January, but who could they look to sign?
Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal and Ainsley Maitland-Niles haven’t all been fit at the same time at any point so far this campaign.
First, Monreal and Kolasinac were out, then Maitland-Niles suffered a fracture and Stephan Lichtsteiner had to fill in. Then Monreal returned for a while before he and Kolasinac both suffered hamstring injuries at the same time. Kolasinac has returned, but Monreal’s return date just keeps being pushed back every time Arsenal discuss it.
Rumours at the start of the summer suggested Sven Mislintat was interested in a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a holding midfielder and a left-back in the window. He signed three of the four, but the club made no headway on the left-hand side.
It’s hard to argue the injury situation is going to make Arsenal any less likely to go back again this winter. Let’s have a look at who the media believe are on Mislintat’s shortlist.
- Faouzi Ghoulam
- Age: 27
- Current club: Napoli
- Contract until: 2022
- Market value: £22.5m
Faouzi Ghoulam is a bit older, and probably a bit more expensive, but he’s an option to come in and immediately challenge for a first-team spot, especially with the injury records of Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac.
The media linked the Algerian left-back with Arsenal a lot last year before the club eventually signed the Bosnian instead.
Then, in February, the Italian media reported that the main reason behind Napoli extending Ghoulam’s contract to 2022 was that they’d heard of interest from Arsenal. They were trying to “avoid any surprises” in the January window.
His new deal has a €35m (£31m) release clause, which still isn’t a crazy amount to pay in today’s market.
When available, Ghoulam has shown a lot of quality, and he helped Napoli to 10 wins in 11 matches at the start of the last league season. The only thing holding Arsenal back would be his current injury problems, as he only recently returned to the bench after knee surgery.
We’ll see what kind of form he’s in when he returns to the pitch.