It is hard to believe that Kieran Gibbs has been a fixture in the Arsenal first team for nine years. Still only 27, the England international burst onto the scene as a precocious teenager back in 2008, and as most Arsenal left backs in recent history, he was hailed as the new Ashley Cole. As soon as he burst onto the scenes Gooners would have been jumping all over NetBet to back the left back to become an established England International.
The Gunners faithful had never quite forgiven Cole after the legendary left back left The North London giants in acrimonious circumstances to sign for Chelsea back in 2006, and were quite happy to shower their love on another homegrown talent in the mould of Gibbs.
However, comparisons with Ashley Cole were observed to be exaggerating on the ability of Gibbs, as he offered nothing near the quality Cole offered in his pomp bombing down the left of Arsenal’s pitch at good old Highbury.
Gibbs made his debut in 2008; however 8 years on, he is at crossroads in his career, constantly fighting for a starting berth with Spanish left back, Nacho Monreal.
The Spaniard was brought in as cover for the injury prone Gibbs, but had grown in stature in the past two seasons to become the undisputed first choice left back at the club. Gibbs and every one at Arsenal knows that he is too good to be on the bench, though relegating Monreal to the bench will be unfair as the Spaniard is playing at the top of his game. In spite of this, Gibbs must leave his comfort zone and seek challenges outside Arsenal.
There are many clubs who will be interested in his signature, and is interesting to see what his next career move portends.
A move to the big clubs is out of the picture, as the major clubs have a quality player in that position. He needs to know that he doesn’t have a lot of choice but to resurrect his career, or he risks being labeled as one player on the unenviable list of players who failed to fulfill their potential.
He must take a cue from Jack Wilshere who had to go to modest Bournemouth to resurrect what was a dying career on the fringes of the Arsenal first team. This summer holds a lot of questions for Gibbs as he is out of contract next summer, and there are no concrete talks about a possible renewal, but his homegrown status is thought to be a factor that is holding the Arsenal hierarchies back from letting him go.
Still three years shy of being 30, he has the next ten years to establish himself as a left back of repute and re-invent himself as an England international, as the likes of Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand have left him behind. He needs to man up. Over 200 games for Arsenal is enough to learn. It’s time to show what you have learnt…