Speaking to Arsenal Player, the Arsenal boss confessed that the reason why he let Clichy go is to give a possibility to 21-year old Kieran Gibbs, explaining that the young Englishman needs to play in order to show that he can be as good as his predecessor.
On Kieran Gibbs, Wenger said:
“[Allowing Gael Clichy to leave?] The reasoning is that Kieran Gibbs, at some stage, has to get a chance to play.
Gael had only one year to go, I rate him very highly but I rate as well highly Kieran Gibbs and he is now at an age, as an English hope, he has to play and that’s the main reason behind that, was to give an opportunity to Kieran Gibbs to play.
We had a fantastic attitude and fantastic service from Gael [Clichy]. I took him in Cannes when he was 16-years old and I think he has made a magnificent career and there’s a lot more to come from him, I believe that the club can be very proud and Gael as well.
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I have said many times that we were very close to winning things last season, despite the disappointment we had at the end. I hope that provokes a response from my players. We were so close this time we want to come back and achieve it.
My responsibility is first of all not to lose players and then to add what can make us stronger because when you’re so close as we were last year, it is important to keep your strengths.
I think we have added already Thomas Vermaelen who we can say has not played last season at all.
The manager concluded by saying that his objective this summer is not to lose more important elements of the squad, showing delight at the return of Belgium’s Thomas Vermaelen who missed a big part of last season, through injury.