Arsenal Transfer Prospects: Why Gael Clichy's Departure Is a Blessing for Wenger

Callum D'SouzaSenior Writer IJuly 4, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Stephane Sessegnon of Sunderland puts the pressure on Gael Clichy of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on March 5, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Manchester City acquired their first summer signing with a £7 million purchase of Arsenal left back Gael Clichy. The Frenchman was destined to depart the Gunners' after failing to extend on the final year of his contract.

The 25-year-old had also grown immensely frustrated with the North London giants' inability to secure silverware, stating his desire to join the Sky Blues due to their sufficient title challenge.

However whilst it may appear the tide is growing reckless at the Emirates with a number of key players linked with exits, Clichy's departure is not one that should be seen as a fault by Arsene Wenger. Despite his tremendous experience and leadership Clichy enforced on the young Arsenal squad, the French international is not an improving prospect.

Although considered one of the strongest left backs in the English Premier League, upon analysing the Frenchman's contribution to the Gunners' since his arrival in 2003 from French outfit Cannes, the only consistent season for Clichy came in 2007-08 in which he earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year. Since then the Frenchman has endured lapses in form and calibre.

It is not to say the French full back is not a strong defender. Quick, intelligent and composed, Clichy was a solid presence on the left flank. However, his inability to position himself often harmed Arsenal alongside his lapses in concentrations and often erratic clearances.

Furthermore although boasting immense speed and agility, the Frenchman rarely offered an impact in the Arsenal attack. A mere two goals in 264 appearances for the Gunners is poor to some extent for a full back. However, Clichy's astray crosses and audacious shots often disarmed flowing Arsenal attacks.

As the Arsenal left back, Clichy enjoyed constant playing time with deputy Kieran Gibbs rarely utilized outside the Carling Cup. His diminish in calibre and performance cannot considered from lack of playing time, which is much the case of Gibbs and the likes of Marouane Chammakh and Nicklas Bendtner.

As with the predominant amount of City signings, their exciting array of expensive talent restricts the overall amount of playing time for almost all players.

Clichy is contending with Serbian left back Aleksandar Kolarov for the first choice left back position and although one would expect Clichy to be considered the favourite, it is inevitable for the Frenchman to experience a distinct drop in the number of performances, particularly with his occasional defensive frailties.

In terms of a replacement for Arsene Wenger, the transfer provides a terrific opportunity to utilize the present funds and acquire a quality replacement or provide youngster Kieran Gibbs with his long awaited opportunity.

The Englishman has managed to show promising quality as the second choice left back but his lack of playing time alongside injuries have ensured a drop in form. However with the chance to become the Arsenal first choice left back it is destined that 21-year-old will rise rapidly. Already an English international, the former Wimbledon youth is a talented option.

Boasting more strength than Clichy, Gibbs is also quick and tenacious as well as possessing a strong header. A former midfielder, the England international is also composed and clinical in attack.

Wenger has thanked Clichy for his terrific service at the Gunners' and it is obvious the Arsenal managed was not immensely eager to keep his left back which is an obvious this sign that Gael Clichy's Arsenal departure is nothing of concern for the Gunners'