Arsenal Transfer News: Taye Taiwo and the Gunners' Full-Back Situation

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Arsenal Transfer News: Taye Taiwo and the Gunners' Full-Back Situation
Taye Taiwo in action for AC Milan

Taye Taiwo, the AC Milan left-back, has debunked the rumors linking him to Arsenal.

Arsenal have relied on makeshift full-backs in the past one month. Andre Santos became the latest full-back to be stretchered off in the Arsenal-Olympiakos match on December 6th after Bacary Sagna, Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs.

To add to the defensive woes, their defensive stalwart, Thomas Vermaelen, limped off the pitch in the Arsenal-QPR match. The problem became a nightmare on Monday in the loss to Fulham when minimally fit Johan Djourou was red-carded. He will now miss a minimum of two Premier League matches.

After this latest turn of events, pundits have been quick to suggest a few names—including Manchester City's out-of-favor Wayne Bridge and AC Milan's Taye Taiwo—as possible answers to Arsenal's full-back problem.

Arsene Wenger has since debunked the Wayne Bridge rumor, but the one about Taye Taiwo has continued. For example, Crunch Sports reports this:

"Arsenal are reportedly considering a loan bid for AC Milan defender Taye Taiwo." Note the "reportedly." They cite the following as evidence for their speculation.

Speaking last month, the 26-year-old hinted that he was ready to quit the club after being left on the bench for most of Milan's games this season.
Taiwo told L'Equipe: "I am suffering every day because I don’t get to play football.
"I joined this club in order to play, but I have made only six appearances so far.
"I don’t understand how things work in Italy. Sometimes I even have to watch from the stands, but I really need to play in order to show what I can do.
"It looks like [coach Massimiliano] Allegri doesn’t have faith in me. It’s not like me to just sit back and do nothing in a situation like this.

In a terse but unsubstantiated entry on New Year's day, Daily Mail printed this entry.

See Taye Taiwo Duel Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben

Arsenal are considering AC Milan left-back Taye Taiwo as an option among their defensive loan targets as their injury crisis continues to bite.

Speaking through his agent, Fabio Parisi, the 26-year-old Nigeria international has denied any contact from Arsenal.

At the moment there is no huge news about Nigerian players, with Arsenal there was only a rumor.

I certainly don't know that Arsene Wenger is looking for a left-back but at this time there has not been any official offer at AC Milan.

Since the full-back situation at Arsenal affects the left-back position more than the right, with Bacary Sagna poised to return soon and with Johan Djourou available as cover, it's natural that speculations would be focused more on the left flank than on the right.

However, Wenger could make an argument for not signing a left-back on the ground that Francis Coquelin has given two convincing performances in this position in Arsenal's last couple of games.

Yours truly thinks there could be something to the argument.

Coquelin is using shrewd positioning to snuff out danger from this direction.

I believe this is instinctual rather than a result of general strategy thinking from the coaching crew. I base this conclusion on the fact that the same is not true of Djourou who has covered the right-back position.

Clive Rose/Getty Images
Francis Coquelin has used intelligent positioning to shield the left-back position from attack

Coquelin is positioning himself higher on the left than does Djourou on the right, with the result that he forces the right winger of the opposition to stand deeper on the pitch.

It's the same strategy Dani Alves uses for Barcelona to curtail danger from Barça's left flank.

I will pursue this subject further in my article on defensive pressing. Please watch for it.

Suffice to say that as yet there's no reliable news from Wenger about signing any new full-back.

 

Please see my Theo Walcott article here if you missed it.

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