Saturday, October 6, 2007

Does Eboue Have A Place At Arsenal?

Emmanuel Eboue played 35 games for Arsenal last season, taking the first-choice right-back position from Lauren (who transferred to Portsmouth due to his lack of first-team play). The Ivorian was criticized for his defending, but put in some brilliant crosses, prompting some to propose playing him on the right wing.

During the Summer transfer window, Arsene Wenger brought in the fabulous Frenchman Bacary Sagna. Sagna has been a rock at right-back, defending and attacking well. Along with Gael Clichy he provided width in an otherwise narrow Arsenal side, and his defending has been as good as any right-back at Arsenal.

Having lost his place at right-back, Arsene Wenger (and many Arsenal fans) thought that now was a good time to test him out in the midfield. He played a few pre-season games at right-mid, and failed to have much influence. Following an injury, he came back to play against Newcastle in our 2-0 Carling Cup victory over Big Sam's side. He featured again in the 1-0 victory over West Ham after Alex Hleb was taken off, and then started in the 1-0 defeat of Steaua Bucharest. However, he once again failed to have much impact in any of these games, making it unlikely for him to start tomorrow against Sunderland.

If he is second choice to Hleb and Diaby in the midfield, and to Sagna in the defense, do we really need him at the club? We have another capable right-back in 22 year-old Justin Hoyte, which means that Eboue will have limited chances in any competition other than the Carling Cup. Will he even want to stay under these conditions?

Of all of our players, Emmanuel Eboue is the only one that I would not mind selling in the January transfer window. He is surplus to Arsenal's requirements, and would likely command a fair sum of cash. Let's not hang on to him for too long.