Despite signing Andre Santos for around £6 million during the summer, Arsène Wenger seems to have reacted abruptly to the Brazilian’s slight lack of form, with the club being linked with a January bid for Barcelona left-back Maxwell. The returning Kieran Gibbs may have suffered from injury already this season, but with Jenkinson happy to play on that side as well, does Wenger really need yet another left-back?
Regardless of his goal against Olympiacos – his first in an Arsenal shirt – Santos hasn’t proved to be anything special as yet but with only two appearances, it is still very difficult to make any sort of conclusions. One thing for certain, though, is that in similar fashion to countryman Dani Alves, he likes to get forward. Gael Clichy showed promising attacking signs until his latter stages at the Emirates, in which he became ineffective further down the field. However, the evidence from his time in Brazil and Turkey suggests that Santos is a far stronger player and one with a ferocious shot on him, whilst the aforementioned Frenchman managed just the one goal during his stay with the Gunners.
Many would put Kieran Gibbs in the team instead of Santos, the youngster having spent his childhood making his way up the ladder until reaching the pinnacle of the first team squad, as well as a spot in Capello’s England team too. He rarely seems to disappoint and is quietly effective down that left flank in both attacking and defensive duties. Jenkinson is another option for Wenger in that position as proved by his decent performance there against Udinese.
There is no doubt that competition for any spot can only be a positive, both for the efforts of the players and to demonstrate the depth of the squad. However, buying a player after only having given new signings a small chance to prove themselves can only break up what (little?) unity the team have. Maxwell is arguably a better defender than Santos in particular but it would be odd if Wenger was to change his plans so suddenly, pushing Gibbs and co. out onto the bench. This would be without doubt a panic buy.