With Carl Jenkison expected to leave the club and uncertainty over Mathieu Debuchy’s future, Arsenal are in desperate need of an option at right-back.
Although Hector Bellerin has been a majestic presence since joining the club in 2013, the Spaniard is currently sidelined with an ankle ligament injury.
Back-up options at right-black are slim and Arsene Wenger needs to address the problem if the Gunners are to keep up the pressure on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
Here, we take a look at three options.
AINSLEY MAITLAND-NILES (ARSNAL U23S)
The 19-year-old has made two appearances for Arsenal in the league cup this year, and looks a bright prospect for the future.
Predominantly a winger, he has featured in match day squads for the senior team after impressing for the U23 side.
It seems like the perfect option for the club to bring in Maitland-Niles and will require little financial investment.
DJIBRIL SIDIBE (MONACO)
The 24-year-old rejected a bid from Arsenal during the summer although he does see his future in the Premier League.
Prising the young Frenchman away from the South of France may be difficult with Bellerin already the first-choice right-back, but his versatility would ensure game time.
Sibide has been in glittering form since signing from Lille in July, scoring two goals and providing two assists in 17 games.
RICK KARSDORP (FEYENOORD)
At 21, Karsdrop is already one of the best right backs in the Eredivisie and will be a central figure as Feyenoord bid for a first league title since 1999.
His pin-point passing and crossing ability is a major outlet for the Rotterdam club and he’s provided three assists this term.
One of Bellerin’s weaknesses is his aerial ability, something that Karsdorp excels in.
This week, Paul Pogba became the first footballer to get his very own emoji on the social media platform, Twitter. Typing ‘#Pogba’ automatically generates a picture of the Frenchman’s face in profile.
It’s a bizarre achievement and one that epitomises the hype and extravagance that has surrounded Pogba since his association with Manchester United was re-ignited in the summer.
United’s kit sponsors adidas exuberantly supported the club’s interest in the player, unashamedly encouraging his departure from Juventus. They built an entire marketing campaign around the 23-year-old’s signing, promoting him as the new face of football, enhancing his – and in turn their – appeal to the younger generation. And Pogba, for his part, has been a willing participant.
His summer transfer saga was unlike any the football fraternity had ever seen before. From the ‘blah, blah, blah’ ads while the rumour mill was rife with news of his move to Old Trafford to confirming his arrival with a video featuring grime star Stormzy.
Since taking to the pitch, there’s been no doubt about Pogba’s ability but what’s also been evident is his incessant need to live up to the hype he continues to help generate. Many gawked when United forked out a record Dhs395 million (£89m) to re-sign the Frenchman.
The player himself certainly seems anxious to prove that he’s worth every penny.
That pressure has often shown in his performances. Pogba has been one of United’s best players of late and an integral part of their 16-game unbeaten run across all competitions but he consistently gets himself tangled up in his desire to impress.
The midfielder has opted for the flashy in virtually every game this season when the simple would have been just as effective. He seems almost physically repulsed by a sideways pass at times, determined to instead take his man on in the middle of the park.
He can sometimes waste precious seconds trying to shimmy and feint his way past an opponent while a team-mate lies in wait to advance an attack. It’s normal for a player of his calibre to set high standards for himself but how much of that is due to his need to justify the social media frenzy?
Against Liverpool on Sunday, Pogba literally handed the Merseyside club the advantage when he clumsily handballed inside the box to give away a penalty in the 13th minute. James Milner expertly dispatched his effort to leave United playing catch up for the rest of the game and Pogba chasing redemption.
His desperation to correct the mistake led to arguably his worst performance in a United shirt. He began to misplace passes, get caught out of position and allowed the frustration to get the better of him. It didn’t help that he was also probably ruing his missed chance early on when played in by Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Naturally, Pogba was given a lot of flack over his new emoji in the aftermath of a poor performance by his standards.
The France international has a massive online presence with more than 12 million followers on Instagram and counting. There’s nothing wrong with being active on social media, of course, but one wonders if all the attention he attracts adversely affects him on the pitch. The spotlight is firmly fixed on him, the media waiting with bated breath for a slip up.
The fact that a new advert featuring the adidas x Pogba Collection launched on Monday, the morning after the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, doesn’t bode well for him. The press predictably berated him for indulging in the promotion of his own image at the expense of his performances.
Sir Alex Ferguson certainly wouldn’t have stood for any of it. In fact, he regularly went out of his way to take a player out of the glare of the media as a means to protect and refocus them. With Pogba though, you wonder if taking a step back is even an option.
There’s no point trying to deprive Pogba of his natural flamboyance or insisting that he keep it simple on the pitch. But there’s a vast difference between playing with confidence and playing under pressure.
People tend to forget that he’s only 23 and that he’s only really had one terrible game. There’s a long way to go until he hits his peak and that is a genuinely frightening thought.
#Pogba is here to stay but it’s maybe time for him to take it down a notch – less than one hairstyle per goal would probably be a good start…
West Ham fans let out a sigh of relief after their impressive win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Second-half goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini, as well as an impressive scissor kick effort from Andy Carroll couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
The heavy defeat to Manchester City and ongoing row with Dimitri Payet spelled doom and gloom for the Hammers faithful.
And it is now imperative the London club offload the Frenchman – who has asked to leave the club – during the January transfer window.
Five men boast similar numbers to the once deemed irreplaceable midfielder – these are the stars the claret and blue should set their sights on:
As you can tell, while Payet is a prized assistman, his potential substitutes do not lag significantly behind. In fact, Benfica’s Pizzi boasts more goals (six) with the same games played, which could help alleviate the goalscoring burden off the men upfront.
While the Frenchman’s presence in the final-third mustn’t be brushed aside, West Ham may require a substitute who can relieve pressure off the back four in moments of difficulty.
Who do you think West Ham should buy?