So, let’s see- on one hand, Arsenal have Hector Bellerin, who has drawn parallels with comic superhero Flash, and rips apart the right flank like it’s a slice of cheese and who has hair like the Greek Gods. And then they have Nacho Monreal, who failed to keep up with Raheem Sterling. Somewhere in there, the sync is lost.
Arsenal or rather Arsene Wenger clearly doesn’t have sufficient backup plan for their left flank. Yes, Kieran Gibbs has been decent this season and he should be ideally starting, but I can clearly see Wenger nudging Coquelin to play in that role with a puppy face when Gibbs and Monreal remain sidelined with injuries.
But transfer reports indicate that Wenger has already sniffed the dilemma and is keeping tabs on Valencia left-back Jose Luis Gaya. This won’t be Wenger’s first raid on Valencia if the deal happens, as Wenger just brought in Shkodran Mustafi from Los Che.
Here’s a SWOT Analysis on Gaya.
Pace, of course, is one of his main prowess from the left flank, but it those defensive elements in him that separates him from the rest. At 21 years of age, he has bagged almost 100 caps at club level, which says a lot about the player.
Often compared to former compatriot Jordi Alba, Gaya has a lot of energy and his movement on and off the ball in immense. His vibrancy is blended by his game reading ability that not only exceed his tender age but is far superior to most other left backs in the world.
So impressive was his debut that Real Madrid had a 30 million euro deal ready for the youngster. However, the deal fell though. Gaya’s bursting runs up front and having an eagle-like eye to slot in balls with perfectly timed runs for the striker, makes him an exceptional talent.
Every armour has a chink and Gaya has it too. His phenomenal progress has been hindered by many muscle injuries, which makes him quite an injury prone player, the perfect product to import for Arsenal. Although he could be an exciting guy to have in your squad, he is still a highly unproven prospect and the world has been witness to many such early bloomers fading with time.
It is said that Gaya was next in the line to Jordi Alba for the left back role, but Monreal’s sudden emergence to prominence further delayed his national dreams. He could have the ideal opportunity to compete against him at Arsenal.
Another positive would be that Arsenal, unlike Valencia, compete in EFL Cup, FA Cup and Champions League on a regular basis apart from the domestic league. And Wenger has a predisposition towards fielding young and inexperienced players in the domestic cup competitions to give them experience.
There are two kinds of threats here. The fast-paced, ruthless Premier League will definitely be a huge threat to the player. Recurring injuries in the first season could shatter him psychologically from which he might never be able to return. In which scenario, Wenger is the perfect guardian for the player.
The second is Gaya’s threat to Nacho Monreal’s position in the team. The Spaniard has a contract till 2019 when he will be 34 and will have after retirement plans. And he wouldn’t like to just fill in shoes in the left-back position on a temporary basis till then. Given Kieran Gibbs age and experience, he would be relishing his first team role for years to come if he doesn’t decide to leave Emirates.
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