Farewell, Gael Clichy

And so, the Invincibles are completely and utterly gone.

Gael Clichy has left the club after eight years of service and joined Manchester City. If you wish to watch his first interview at his new club, you can have a look at their website. We can only speculate as to the fee, but most suggest it’s in the region of £7 million, and for a player of his quality, that really is a steal. He may have had his bad moments, but without doubt, he is a top quality player. He makes mistakes, but all players do. He got barely any support in defence – Arshavin and Nasri were never interested in defending, and while Alex Song gave Bacary Sagna added protection on the right, Jack Wilshere was a little less defensively disciplined, leaving Clichy exposed at times.

I’ll miss him, he was a top servant, and he never gave up. What I’ll remember most about him are his lung-busting runs down the left, and the superb interceptions when he nipped in past the opposition player to steal the player. I remember against Barcelona, in the first leg of the recent tie, Clichy was facing up to Pedro, and somebody in front of me yelled “Don’t dive in!”, but Clichy did, and still won the ball. It was also him that set up van Persie’s goal to put us on our way to the victory in that leg.

Many still blame Clichy for our collapse against Birmingham in 2007/08. The penalty was an absolutely perfect tackle, he toed the ball away from Parnaby (yes, I remember who it was, I still hold a grudge) and was nowhere near touching the player, yet he went down, and the referee pointed to the spot, for whatever reason. That was not Clichy’s fault – if the referee had not made the wrong decision, we would have been praising Clichy for making a crucial tackle.

It’s important to note that he’s only 25. He seemed to struggle mentally after the Birmingham game, and never fully recovered his form, although that may have been the formation change. He’s still nowhere near his peak, that will come in three years or so. I’m of the belief that he’ll thrive at City – they defend as a team, and maintain defensive discipline, unlike us. We could take a leaf out of their book in that respect.

He worked his socks off all over the pitch, covering every inch of grass. I for one, am sad to see him go, and I pray that we bring in a decent replacement. There must be someone Wenger could pluck from France or Italy like he did with Sagna? Matt Statto recently suggested Pablo Armero from Udinese, and I think we could do far worse than to have a look at him. I certainly don’t think Gibbs is the answer, not yet anyway – positionally he was awful last season, and cost us quite a bit with his lackadaisical play. Many times you’d find him in the left midfield position, having given the ball away, and struggling to get back. He’s far too indisciplined to be a starter for us yet.

Armand Traore and Pedro Botelho are certainly not the answer either – Traore was average at Juventus, nothing more, while Pedro Botelho is a Gareth Bale-type player; an adventurous left-sided player who can play in defence or midfield, but is far more suited to playing in midfield.

So goodbye, Gael Clichy. Some may not have appreciated you, but in years to come, I’m sure they’ll realise you were a pretty good player.

Oh, and score loads of own goals.

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About Sam Drew

17 year old student by day, football blogger by night

7 responses to “Farewell, Gael Clichy”

  1. Mitzy Mcguire says :

    and just when he got his shooting boots on too! lol. crap offensively, generally solid defensively. bye gael

  2. Gavin says :

    I do think we need a fullback that offers more going forward, last season Clichy and Sagna kept getting the ball and just crossing it into the box with no real target. Sadly I think Wenger will just promote Gibbs who I dont think is ready yet and has real questions about his fitness.

    As for Clichy I have a huge amount of respect for him, he has always carried himself with class and gave huge respect to the club, another french player still at the club could learn a thing or two from Clichy.

    • 15yearoldgooner says :

      Sagna is the perfect full back for me, he offers a decent option going forward, gets in some good positions and if there are players in the box he’ll hit them more often that not. That’s something that people overlook with our full backs though – often it’s just van Persie in the box, amongst the likes of Samba and Ferdinand. Always going to be difficult to cross. Looks quite likely that Wenger may promote Gibbs, who knows, he may improve, we can only hope he does. I think if he does promote him, then he’s probably good enough. I trust his judgement.

      Completely agree on Clichy’s attitude, he was a model professional. Seems like he’s followed in the footsteps of Toure, whereas Nasri would be following Adebayor’s example if he went to City. Cheers for the comment.

  3. Northbanksy says :

    Very fair assessment of GC. I don’t think he was going to get any better at Arsenal, so a fresh start elsewhere is right for him. Gibbs will take his place with ease & is a better offensively IMHO.

    • 15yearoldgooner says :

      Cheers mate. There was quite a bit of a blemish on Gael’s career here, so best for all concerned that he moves on to new things – hopefully he doesn’t come back to haunt us though! Seems likely I’ve got to say, however. As for Gibbs, not sure he’s ready but, as I said, if Wenger thinks he is, then I guess I trust his judgement.

  4. Matt | JUVERSATION says :

    Armero said back in February that he’d be interested in a move to Arsenal (or Barcelona), as he feels that he suits your style of football and way of playing:

    http://www.givemefootball.com/premier-league/south-american-ace-dreaming-of-arsenal-move

    I’d say he’d definitely be worth a look.

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