West Brom have completed the Kieran Gibbs transfer from Arsenal. It is believed that the Baggies paid Arsenal a fee in the region of £7mil for the England left-back. Arsenal were willing to sell the player who had been subjected to interest from several clubs. Like many of his former team-mates at Arsenal, Gibbs was due to be out of contract at Arsenal next summer. His role with the first team had been much reduced in recent seasons though.
Transfer Fee: £7mil
Contract Length: 4 years
2016/17 League Stats: 8 starts (3 sub appearances) 0 goals (1 assists)
Verdict: After strong interest from Watford and Galatasaray, Kieran Gibbs has decided to join West Brom. In the current market £7mil isn’t bad value for a player with 10 England caps, even if they were likely won because of injuries to others. He also has top level experience, educated at Arsenal with Champions League experience too. It looks like shrewd business by Tony Pulis and the natural left-back that West Brom have been missing for a while.
After a quick look back at West Brom’s squads of recent seasons, arguably not since Nicky Shorey, five years ago, have West Brom had an established, specialist left-back. Last season Brendan Galloway was on loan from Everton but he failed to convince Pulis he was ready in his 3 early season performances which were the entirety of the action he saw at the Hawthorns. Evans has played there despite being primarily a centre-back. Nyom has played at left-back on occasion but is more recognised on the right-side. Fairly recently Chris Brunt had been converted into a left-back and had featured there the most regularly but he too of course started his career in a more advanced midfield role.
You have to say Gibbs is a big upgrade in the left-back department for West Brom and likely a guaranteed starter when fit. Pulis is known for his conservative approach, on occasion even using two natural centre-backs on the defensive flanks but there have been suggestions, with the use of Brunt in particular, that West Brom are trying to play a bit more expansively. Gibbs is decent defensively and good going forward so should fit into what Pulis is trying to achieve and add more balance and consistency to the left side.
In terms of Gibbs’ career, he needed the move. Eleven starts in two years says it all. It wasn’t as if he was unlucky with injury as he’s been on the bench 52 times in the same period. With such little game-time and as the interest has shown, none of the top teams were in for him, a lot of teams look well stocked in the left-back position, so West Brom were probably the best he could have hoped for. The team have been performing above expectations for a while, so it’s a good place to play right now with recent signings looking impressive and likely to take the club on a level or two.
Towards the end at Arsenal even Bellerin was preferred in a left wing-back role and with the new signing of Kolasinac and Monreal, Gibbs was going to struggle to play even more this season. His contract was approaching its final year but I suspect he’s one of the few that Arsenal weren’t too concerned about renewing. It’s a good move for all parties. Arsenal have one less player on the wage-bill, Gibbs gets to play for a good team and West Brom’s starting XI is improved.
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) August 30, 2017
Is Gibbs to West Brom a good move? What do you think?