Southampton have joined the race alongside Watford for Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs as the Saints prepare their options in the chance Ryan Bertrand departs the club this summer, according to the Daily Mail.
The 27-year-old has struggled to truly establish himself in Arsene Wenger’s XI throughout his career, mainly featuring during fixtures against lower-level opposition, back up for an injury or rotationally during hectic spells of the season.
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Southampton have emerged as suitors for the Englishman, with the south coast club monitoring fellow Premier League side Watford’s attempts to also prise the defender away this summer.
The Saints already have great depth in the 27-year-old’s natural position, with the trio of Bertrand, Sam McQueen and Matt Targett all challenging one another to feature in Mauricio Pellegrino’s first starting XI against Swansea City in under three weeks time.
However, speculation has been rife regarding a number of those who currently make up the back four at the St Mary’s Stadium, with the regular left-back one of those after being tipped with a big-money move to either Manchester City or Champions Chelsea during the transfer window.
Following the Citizens’ acquisition on three wing-backs over the past two weeks it is unlikely the Champions League side will be making a move after all, however the Blues are still a possibility and Southampton will certainly want to make sure they have options should they need to splash the cash before the end of next month.
Gibbs only racking up eight first-team starts in the Premier League in 2016-17, three in the League Cup and two in the FA Cup, a competition that the Gunners played six times in on their way to lifting the trophy.
This seems unlikely to change any time soon, with Arsenal adopting a successful three at the back formation for the latter part of the 2016/17 campaign and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain chosen as the French manager’s preference on the left-side.
It seems therefore that in order to attain regular first-team football Gibbs may have to make a move away from the Emirates Stadium before the end of August.