Last summer, Andre Santos was brought to the Emirates, looking to replace a Kieran Gibbs who wasn't looking so great at that time. Santos may have been signed with expectations of great all-around play, but the reality is that his defensive work needs some improvement, while he is much stronger with the ball at his feet (some say he's a typical Brazilian).
Santos isn't very quick, and his biggest issue is that he commits too early when making a challenge: an extremely risky thing to do when you are defending some of the quickest wingers in the world. One mistake like that on the flank and you will be kicking off before you know it.
Santos hasn't done very well in the red and white shirt, and one can come across many irate Gooners when he commits an error. Arseblog calls him Arsenal's "Fish and chip loving ‘left back,’" as well as "the cuddly maverick," which just goes to show about his reputation among fans.
For this reason, Arsenal may be looking to replace him with Senegalese left back Cheikh M'Bengue, currently a player for French Ligue 1 side Toulouse FC, who have won a game and drawn one so far in their campaign.
ESPN Soccernet reports that M'Bengue has claimed that the Gunners are interested in landing him, despite the fact that Toulouse manager Olivier Sadran has denied the transfer request and has also stated that his left back is going nowhere: "For me, everything is clear. The league has started and no one will leave."
However, the player himself says that he would relish an opportunity to move to North London in spite of his contract, according to Soccernet:
"I still have two years on my contract and I'm a key player here. I have no clause or agreement to leave - but Arsenal is something you cannot turn down if everyone is okay. I hope he [Sadran] won't block me if an interesting proposal comes up. Arsenal would be awesome."
M'Bengue has made over 110 appearances for Toulouse, between 2007 and now, and has ten caps for Senegal, even though he was a U21 player for France when he was much younger.
The 24-year-old has had a history of bad tackling, as he was twice suspended long-term. The first one came in the 2007-08 season, when he committed a serious foul against the Monaco second team, and as a result the FFF (French Football Federation) suspended him for 13 games.
The second suspension was in March of 2009 when M'Bengue was suspended for the rest of the season for a tackle against Monaco (the A team this time).
Despite these things, the Senegalese international isn't normally a violent, malicious defender. He just has moments where he can be reckless. However, these were a few years ago and he has matured since then. And if he moves to Arsenal, he will be on a bigger stage and recognize that he is being watched by many more people.
M'Bengue will add pace to the Arsenal squad. He is quite speedy, and he knows what to do on the ball, in addition to having good footballing instincts, in terms of when to tackle and when to hold his ground.
But this signing would not mean letting go of Andre Santos. It would mean maybe moving the Brazilian up to midfield so that he can attack more (which he loves) and defend a bit less. M'Bengue may still play behind Kieran Gibbs, but it would give Arsenal a great second option if something were to happen to Gibbs.
Overall, it would be a good move to sign M'Bengue.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!