Arsenal FC 2011: Why Gaël Clichy's Exit Marks the End of an Era at the Club

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 01:  Gael Clichy of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on May 1, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Victor ImoukhuedeContributor IIJuly 4, 2011

After weeks of speculation, news broke yesterday that long-serving Arsenal left back Gaël Clichy was on the verge of a transfer to Manchester City. This has since been confirmed by Sky Sports who understand that he is due to undergo a medical today ahead of a £7million transfer.

The 25-year-old French man is in the last year of his contract and broke off talks of a new contract before the end of last season.

As the last surviving member of the Invincibles, Clichy's impending exits marks the end of an era at the club as not only is he the club's longest-serving first-teamer after making his first team debut in October of 2003 in the League Cup against Rotherham United, he is the only serving player to have won the Premier League title.

Clichy made 12 appearances for the club in the 2003-04 season. Since his debut, he has made 264 appearances for the club scoring two goals and recording 10 assists.

Since becoming the first-choice left back in 2006 after the departure of Ashley Cole to Chelsea, Clichy consistently proved his worth by his high work ethic despite severe criticism at times to earn his place in the first team. His impending departure to Manchester City will create a void in the Arsenal team.

The only other recognisable left backs in the team are the perpetually injured Kieran Gibbs and perennial loanee Armand Traore who has recently returned from another unsuccessful loan spell at Juventus.

Arsene Wenger is faced with a daunting task of either promoting the two aforementioned players to first-choice or moving Thomas Vermaelen to left back as the Belgian played there often for Ajax. The most reasonable option, however, is to delve into the transfer market for a like-for-like replacement.

Three names currently in the mix are Leighton Baines (Everton), José Enrique (Newcastle) and Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic). My personal preference will be the Honduran Izaguirre who was recently won both Player of the Year awards in Scotland.

Knowing Arsenal, however, we might be left wondering who they will sign till the end of August!

I wish him all the best at Manchester City.

Till next time...Victoria Concordia Crescit.

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