Arsenal are considering a move for Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand, according to The Evening Standard.
Mikel Arteta recently hinted that the Gunners could bring in another No.3 before the transfer window closes to support Kieran Tierney, following Sead Kolasinac’s loan exit to Schalke for the remainder of the campaign.
And it appears Bertrand is one of the options on their radar, in no small part due to the fact his Southampton contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
That suggests Arsenal could land an experienced Premier League defender at relatively modest cost this month, although the 5 foot 10 defender is said to be happy to stay at St. Mary’s.
But would the 31-year-old full-back actually be a good signing for the Gunners, or does he have the makings of a potential transfer gaffe?
GIVEMESPORT writers Jack Saville, Jonathan Gorrie and Christy Malyan provide their verdicts on that exact question below…
“Arsenal need to show more ambition in the transfer market if they are serious about returning to the Champions League. Bertrand is a solid player with plenty of Premier League experience and his contract situation makes him even more appealing, but the Gunners’ decision-makers need to consider the long-term prospects of their next left-back recruit.
“Tierney has cemented his place as the club’s first-choice option at left-back and Bukayo Saka is capable of filling in to deputise in the Scotland international’s absence, so the club can afford to bide their time in the transfer market.
“With Bertrand set to turn 32 in August, the former Chelsea trainee is entering the twilight years of his career and isn’t likely to pose a serious threat to Tierney’s place in the starting XI. He will undoubtedly be an attractive option if his Southampton contract expires in the summer, but he’s just not the long-term option the Gunners need.”
“What would Bertrand get out of a move to Arsenal?
“After frequently being farmed out on loan at Chelsea, he’s found a home on the South Coast and has proven to be an influential player at one of the most upwardly mobile sides in the Premier League.
“For the Gunners, they’d be getting a seasoned Premier League professional to compete with Tierney but, given his importance to the Saints cause, they’d surely have to offer him a rather tempting package to swap his regular berth for a rotational one at best.
“What Arsenal can offer Bertrand at this stage of his career is up for debate.”
“As impressive as Tierney’s been for Arsenal, the Scotland defender comes with one major drawback – his injury record. It’s been a problem for him both at Celtic and in north London, and it’s already clear the Gunners need someone capable of coming into the team at a moment’s notice to cover for him when he suffers another layoff.
“Going down the younger route makes a lot of sense – Bertrand is already into his 30s and will probably have two or three years maximum at Arsenal. But there is a danger in bringing in a protégé-style understudy, who could find himself thrown right into the deep end in a series of huge games the next time Tierney endures another one of his prolonged sideline bouts.
“Bertrand, on the other hand, is vastly experienced, consistent, a real professional and very rarely misses games. So while his age is admittedly a little off-putting, he’s more naturally equipped to come into the side and fill Tierney’s void with minimal fuss.
“Assuming he’ll be available for relatively cheap due to his contract situation, I think Bertrand represents a shrewd addition for the Gunners that addresses exactly what the squad needs to avoid being left short-handed by Tierney’s injury problems.”