Arsenal have reportedly set their sights on Ryan Bertrand, as they look to provide realistic competition to first-choice left-back Kieran Tierney.
According to a report by London Evening Standard, Arsenal have turned their attention towards Ryan Bertrand in a bid to add some competition for Kieran Tierney. The Gunners are in search of a left-back after letting Sead Kolasinac join Schalke on loan this month.
Bertrand joined Southampton from Chelsea in the summer of 2014, after failing to establish himself as a regular in the Blues’ first-team setup. Initially signed on loan by the Saints, which was the ninth occasion that he had been sent out on a temporary basis by Chelsea, his move was made permanent a few months later and he has not looked back since.
Over the past few years, Bertrand has been one of the best full-backs on show in the Premier League, going on to amass 224 appearances for Southampton while chipping in with 8 goals and 19 assists. However, it has recently been suggested that the 31-year-old harbours hopes of playing in the UEFA Champions League again and could leave Southampton soon. He has now appeared on Arsenal’s radar.
While Gunners are not in a promising situation to reclaim a place in the top four, they are in need of signing a left-back following Sead Kolasinac’s loan move to Schalke. The Bosnian’s departure has left Mikel Arteta with Kieran Tierney as the only recognised left-back within the Arsenal squad.
While the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka are makeshift options for the left-back slot, it is important to note that Maitland-Niles faces an uncertain future at Arsenal while Saka is a long-term solution in attack. Therefore, it is imperative for Arsenal to sign a left-back soon, with former Chelsea defender Bertrand emerging as a viable target.
With the 31-year-old in the final six months of his contract with Southampton, Arsenal have the chance of signing him on a cut-price deal this month. Having said that, the Gunners face an uphill task in their bid to land the ex-Chelsea full-back, as the Saints are reluctant to part ways with him in the ongoing window despite his worrisome contract situation.
What now remains to be seen is if Arsenal are prepared to wait till the summer to sign Bertrand as a free agent or if they set their sights elsewhere. What does appear to be certain is that both the full-back slots are up for reinforcements, with Tariq Lamptey an option to bolster the right-back berth.