Loveable Andre Santos has left London Colney for a stint at Gremio in Brazil. The timing of the loan deal is odd considering our current lack of depth at left-back, but perhaps it was the kindest, if not the most sensible thing to do.
Andre always struck me as a guy who does have the ability to be a good player, but perhaps his best position isn’t at left back, or at least not in the Premier League. His positioning has always been questionable, his fitness always a worry and recently his confidence has been so low I could imagine him losing the will to perform for Arsenal. I will never forget the furore surrounding his half-time shirt-swapping “incident” with RvP and whilst it’s not a common practice here, its a regular occurance in Brazil and the bile that was aimed at him was ridiculous at best, bullying at worst. Nevertheless, he tried to regain his spot, but continually being torn a new orifice will always knock your confidence and therefore his performance levels suffered. Arsène kept faith as I did, but he knew he would have to be ruthless.
We tried to send him back to Turkey but without success, so it is to Gremio in Brazil he goes and I hope he does well. I always imagined that he would get a shot at left wing for us but alas, it was not meant to be. Besides, Robben and Ribery would have given him permanent post-traumatic stress so we’ve saved him a lifetime of nightmares.
With his departure we have a conundrum to solve. Nacho Monreal has been outstanding in his first two games for us, but alas he is cup-tied for the game against Bayern so we need to find a new solution from within. Gibbs is still well and truly injured so someone else will need to step up. With the defensive departures of both Djourou and Santos, I would hope Arsène is focussed on giving Miquel a shot at the first team so perhaps he is thinking about putting him in, but I suggest it is more likely that should Vermaelen pass fit then he will be the stand-in. Vermaelen is mobile and sharp in the tackle, so between him and Sagna I expect our full-back positions to be well cared for. Especially in the light of the players who are going to be looking to exploit such weaknesses.
Tuesday 19th Feb will be an interesting yardstick of how we have degenerated as a side in Europe. If we get annihilated by a vibrant Bayern side then there will be little complaint from me, although deep down I harbour dreams that we might nick a result. If Jack is fit, then the resurgent Ramsey will probably be benched, but both have been in stunning form in the last few games and I hope that they both get a chance to get at Bayern and create something special for us fans.
A draw would be great, a win for Arsenal would be amazing.