Reports last night across the British media claim that Gael Clichy has been the subject of a £5 million bid from Liverpool.
Kenny Dalglish is known to be on the lookout for a left-back ahead of the new season and is thought to be an admirer of the French international. While Clichy represents an attractive option for the Reds speculation abounds that Newcastle United’s Enrique remains the Anfield side’s number one target for the position.
In a game of brinksmanship it is now thought that Liverpool have leaked their interest in Clichy to provoke the Magpies into lowering their high asking price for the Spaniard. Having been held to ransom by Mike Ashley in January over the £35 million signing of Andy Carroll, new Reds owners Fenway Sports Group have indicated they will take a more stubborn line in negotiations this time around.
With only one year left on his contract, and having so far rejected the chance to extend his stay in North London on lucrative new terms, Clichy does appear open to life away from the Emirates. Nevertheless, with several clubs on the continent including Juventus, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich all tipped as potential suitors, the £5 million bid lodged by the Liverpool looks likely to comprehensively surpassed.
If Clichy does walk away from Arsenal after eight years at the club, Arsenal fans will no doubt expect to see Arsene Wenger sign an experienced replacement with question marks still surrounding the future suitability of England under-21 star Kieran Gibbs and Frenchman Armand Traore.
While Gibbs has been tipped for a bright future at the top of the game, his repeated struggles with injury hints that he cannot yet be expected to fulfil his duties on a week-to-week basis. Traore meanwhile came close to signing for Benfica last summer before opting to spend a season on loan in Serie A with Italian giants Juventus. Despite making his debut in 2006 his progress at the Emirates has been consistently undermined by lacklustre performances in the first team and he looks more likely to follow Clichy out of the club rather than replace his compatriot in the first team.
Everton’s Leighton Baines and Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre have both been mentioned as possible replacements, although with suitors circling Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas the first concern for Arsene Wenger will be keeping his star players at the Emirates.