5 Full-Back Options Arsene Wenger Must Consider for Arsenal
Bacary Sagna is gone, and Arsenal must find a new right back to replace him.
Most reports in the press recently, including this story from The Independent, have pinpointed Mathieu Debuchy as the man Arsene Wenger has chosen as a replacement, but the manager's options do not stop there.
Even if the Gunners sign Debuchy, they could still loan out Carl Jenkinson to get valuable experience and bring in another player to replace him. And Debuchy is not yet an Arsenal player, so the manager must have backup options if the deal falls through at the 11th hour.
Here are five players Wenger should be considering.
Let's get the most obvious one out of the way right off the bat.
Debuchy ticks all the boxes that one would assume Arsenal are looking for in a right back: At almost 29 years old, he can be a reliable option for a few seasons if need be and is still in the prime years of his career. Yet he will not be around for so long that he will stifle the development of young players like Carl Jenkinson or Hector Bellerin.
Plus, his 18-month tenure with Newcastle United has given him valuable Premier League experience, meaning that he will not have to adapt to the rigors of the most demanding league in the world.
While it seems odd that the Gunners would want to bring in a 20-year-old on a short-term basis when they already have Carl Jenkinson and Hector Bellerin to vie for the backup role, the move makes sense if you think carefully.
By signing Manquillo for a year, Arsenal would be able to farm one or both of Jenkinson and/or Bellerin out to clubs where they would actually play on a regular basis, allowing them to gain match experience and providing Mathieu Debuchy with backup.
Toby Alderweireld could only come to Arsenal if the Debuchy move falls through at the last minute, but he is not a bad second-choice.
He showed at the World Cup that he is a very fast and tricky right back—the type of player whose engine never stops running and is constantly a thorn in other teams' sides.
His age might be a problem, as at 25 years old he will demand playing time for several years to come. But if Arsene Wenger thinks he's the right fit, he might be willing to overlook that long-term problem.
Hoewedes would solve more than one of Arsenal's problems upon his arrival, but it seems very unlikely that he would be brought in from Schalke 04.
He is a center back by trade, but has been successfully deployed by Joachim Low at right back for Germany during the World Cup. He could therefore allow the disgruntled Thomas Vermaelen to be sold while also providing excellent cover for Debuchy or whomever Arsenal sign at right back.
The problem is that he is 26 years old, in the prime of his career, and the captain of Schalke, the only team for which he has ever played. It seems impossible that he could be convinced to essentially be a utility man at Arsenal.
Only Arsene Wenger knows if the best solution to his right back dilemma lies within the club. That depends on how well Carl Jenkinson develops in training.
He is at a crucial point in his career. Twenty-two years old is still young, but he needs to display clear progression now, especially in his defensive technique and heading skill.
The Gunners' much-rumored pursuit of Debuchy indicates that Wenger thinks Jenkinson is not quite ready to make the jump to first-team regular, as Kieran Gibbs was when Gael Clichy left for Manchester City a few years ago.
But signing Debuchy actually does bode well for Jenkinson, in a way. It indicates that Wenger sees enough potential in him to forgo a long-term replacement so that the Englishman will still have a future at Arsenal if he continues to develop.
This is his only chance to do so, though.