Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Can't Afford to Let Andre Santos Depart

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2012

NORWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20:  Andre Santos of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between  Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on October 20, 2012 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Andre Santos hasn't made a big splash since coming to Arsenal, but that doesn't mean the Gunners can afford to let him go.

At least they can't if they don't have a good backup plan in mind. With grumblings that Santos may be sold in January, the Gunners might want to put a contingency plan in place.

From ESPN Star:

The Brazilian's lack of regular game time has seen him linked with a move to Turkish giants Galatasaray in the January transfer window but he insists he is perfectly happy at Arsenal.

"There were some rumours that my name was involved in this possible comeback [to Turkey]," he told Arsenal Player.

"I had people asking me on Twitter and even players from Fenerbahce asking if it was true, but I am very happy here at Arsenal and I hope to stay here at Arsenal for a long time.

For now, it seems like Santos wants to stick around. And that's a good thing for Arsenal.

Now, I'm not saying Santos is some irreplaceable member of the Gunners—he isn't. In fact, I know there will be more than a few of you with some choice words for Santos in the comments. 

He's been unsteady while with the Gunners at best, and we all know he won't be challenging Kieran Gibbs as the first-choice left back anytime soon.

But what happens if Gibbs goes down? 

Once Bacary Sagna returns, I'm going to go ahead and assume Jenkinson becomes the third option out wide in the Arsenal defense (though I prefer him on the right side). Thomas Vermaelen has played out wide at times as well, though he's obviously more effective in central defense.

If Gibbs goes down, I think it's vital that the Gunners have a dedicated left back to replace him, or at least one to split time with Jenkinson so that the promising youngster can spell Sagna on the right side as well.

That means one of two things—either the Gunners need to look for another left back at the transfer window, or they need to hold on to Santos for depth.

And let's be honest—adding a backup left back shouldn't be high on Arsenal's wish list. This team should be focusing on adding another attacking player in January, especially with the possibility that Theo Walcott might have to be sold if he doesn't agree to a contract extension with the club.

And even if Walcott sticks around, adding another striker should be a priority. The Gunners have simply lacked finishing class at times this season, including in Saturday's abysmal 1-0 loss to Norwich.

So keeping Santos around—or at least prioritizing other needs before replacing him—is probably the way to go for the Gunners in January. To his credit, it sounds like he wants to stick around and make it work.

Chances are, he'll be sticking around. Whether he makes it work up to the standards set by Arsenal's fanbase is another question altogether.

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