5 long-term left-backs who Arsenal should consider signing
3. Jose Gaya (Valencia)
Blessed with blistering pace and bundles of energy, the Spaniard suits the all-action, forward-thinking role of the modern full-back
With Valencia in turmoil both on and off the pitch, star players may have to be sold to make ends meet. With Portuguese right-back Joao Cancelo on the verge of a move to the Camp Nou, 21-year-old Jose Gaya is another talented youngster seemingly headed for the exit.
Blessed with blistering pace and bundles of energy, the Spaniard suits the all-action, forward-thinking role of the modern full-back, which was evident during his breakthrough season in 2014/15.
Having come through the ranks while watching Spain’s brilliant 2008 and 2012 national sides, pressing is something ingrained into his mind; like many young defenders, though, the Valencia academy graduate has a frustrating habit of switching off at the back post, as well as overplaying in dangerous areas.
Despite his promise, Gaya hasn't kicked on to become the player most expected after he burst onto the scene 18 months ago. Injuries have slowed his progress, while the constant managerial changes at Mestalla haven’t provided the stability needed for young players need to thrive. The prospect of a new challenge could bring out the best in the Spaniard. but he certainly won’t be cheap.
What he’d cost: £25m
Chances of it happening: 5/10
4. Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin)
Another attacking full-back who prefers to play on the front foot, the 24-year-old averages two interceptions and wins 1.2 tackles per 90 minutes
Having originally been signed by Hertha Berlin as one for the future in 2015, Plattenhardt made the left-back spot his own a lot earlier than expected. Pal Dardai's side are well drilled and effective on the counter, with the German playing a key role in their ability to transition quickly from defence to attack. He's also quick to bring the ball out into space and willing to be direct in wide areas.
Plattenhardt, like Rodriguez, is terrific from set-plays: with only a one- or two-step run-up, he's able generate plenty of whip and speed on the ball, which makes his deliveries extremely difficult to defend.
Another attacking full-back with a positive mindset, the 24-year-old averages a 60% win rate in his aerial duels – the highest of any player on this list. The Hertha man also has an eye for goal, often trying his luck from range, and has already scored twice this campaign.
Plattenhardt has added consistency to his game as the capital club look to challenge the established order for Champions League football. His contract runs until 2020 but he wouldn't cost a lot, and with a strong German contingent already at the Emirates, he'd settle in quickly.
What he’d cost: £8m
Chances of it happening: 3/10
5. Ricardo Pereira (Nice)
Over the past two seasons, Nice have gambled on giving troubled players another opportunity to prove themselves. Hatem Ben Arfa earned a move to PSG after a spell at the Allianz Riviera, while Mario Balotelli and Younes Belhanda are currently flourishing following their summer moves to the Ligue 1 leaders.
Rampaging wing-back Ricardo Pereira lost his way after signing for Porto, but he’s now impressing on France's south coast thanks to regular first-team football. The 23-year-old may lack technical finesse, but he more than makes up for it with his impressive physical qualities.
Pereira boasts an 88% pass-completion rate in 2016/17, while averaging an incredible 4.3 clearances and 2.6 tackles per 90 minutes. Used at both right- and left-back this season, his speed allows him to dominate either flank; as such, he's completed 68% of his take-ons and won 55% of his duels. He can also produce going forward, creating 1.6 chances and completing 1.3 key passes on average – in addition to providing three assists and even grabbing a goal himself.
Arsenal approached Djibril Sidibe – now of Monaco – last summer because of his ability to play both full-back roles. If Wenger is planning to kill two birds with one stone again, Pereira would be a highly intelligent purchase. At an age where he can still improve but won't need too much time to settle, his stamina and energy should suit English football down to a tee.
What he’d cost: £10m
Chances of it happening: 3/10