Arsenal FC: Why Gael Clichy's Official Departure Is Devastating for the Gunners

Charlie MelmanCorrespondent IIJuly 4, 2011

Arsenal will never quite be the same
Arsenal will never quite be the sameJulian Finney/Getty Images

It's now official: It is the end of an era at Arsenal FC, and our starting left back will play at Eastlands next year. is now reporting that Gael Clichy's much-discussed transfer to Manchester City has been made official, although the club would not confirm the rumored seven million pound transfer fee.

Clichy's exit officially closes the book on the "Invincibles" era at Arsenal, removing the last winner of the Premier League from our squad.

The ramifications of Clichy's departure are numerous and quite devastating for Arsenal, and even the most ardent Clichy-hater should be sad at the Frenchman's departure.

First, the last tie to the best Arsenal team ever has been severed, and now no one at the club possesses the ability to describe to younger players what it was like not to lose for an entire season. A player with immense winning experience, who played alongside legendary players, is taken from the dressing room.

With the rumored departure of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie will be the only player left at the club who has significant winning experience, and more importantly, the knowledge of what it takes to win a trophy. 

There is also a significant loss of quality on the pitch.

Clichy was a quality left back, despite his mistakes. He had oodles of pace to burn, was a quality attacking player and was always committed to the cause.

Entering his prime years at 25, it is sad that he was only bought for seven million pounds, because he only had one year left on his contract. His value was higher, especially considering the fact that he contributed so much off the pitch in terms of experience.

Also, there is the pressing issue of who his replacement will be, as Kieran Gibbs can never stay fit and has never proven himself defensively, while Armand Traore failed to impress on loan at Juventus.

Leighton Baines and Emilio Izaguierre have been suggested as possible replacements, but we all know how reluctant Arsene Wenger is to open his wallet even slightly. These players are of the utmost quality, and would likely cost Wenger a significant sum.

With the somber departure of Gael Clichy from the Emirates, regardless of one's personal feelings on the quality and consistency of the player, it is definitely a sad end of an era at Arsenal. Hopefully, the team will be able to quickly bounce back from a significant and symbolic loss both on and off the pitch.