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According to reports from Sky Sports, Watford are planning to make a move for Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs ahead of the new season.
The 27-year old Englishman may be surplus to requirements at the Emirates this season and is likely to be sold. There was strong interest in him from fellow Premier League club West Bromwich Albion, but the Baggies ended their pursuit, after a £10million bid was rejected earlier this month (Sky Sports). Now the Hornets are looking to make a move for Gibbs, who was left out of the Gunners’ pre-season tour to the Asia and Australia and was also not included in the squad for the Emirates Cup.
Watford have been fairly active in the transfer market, with new manager Marco Silva looking to induce some freshness into an ageing squad. The club have made five signings so far with Tom Cleverley, Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah and Daniel Bachmann having come in at the Vicarage Road. Despite the arrivals, there remain several areas on the pitch that Silva will be keen on addressing at the earliest and one of those positions is that of the left-back.
Watford currently have only Jose Holebas as the recognized left-sided full-back in the ranks. The Greek international is 33 years old and struggled for form and fitness over the last season. Right-back Daryl Janmaat had been used as a makeshift option down the left-hand side but not to great success. So the club targeting Gibbs over a summer move makes total sense.
The 27-year old has lost his place in the Arsenal team to Nacho Monreal over the last two years and with the North London outfit bringing in Sead Kolasinac in the summer, his chances have taken a further beating. Last season, Gibbs made only 22 appearances for the Gunners – only 8 of which were Premier League starts and he registered 5 assists.
He may have been an unwanted man at the Emirates, but his quality and experience in the Premier League will be of great value for a team like Watford. Gibbs has notched up over 220 appearances for Arsenal since his debut in 2007-08 season and has played 137 times in the Premier League. His career may have been marred by injuries and inconsistencies, but he has shown enough times that when he gets going he can be a great asset to any team.
The 10-time capped England international is fast, can hit accurate crosses or perform clever cut-backs, impacting the team’s fortunes in the attacking third and has shown enough defensive nous as well. If he manages to stay fit for the course of the season and gets a run of games in the first-team, he has the potential to be an important player for the Hornets. Gibbs will be a huge upgrade on the options that Silva currently has at his disposal and signing him will definitely increase the quality of the squad.