ARSENE WENGER has revealed that Kieran Gibbs departure from the Emirates hurt more than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Wenger described losing Gibbs this summer to West Brom was like saying goodbye to a family member.
Arsenal sold Gibbs to West Brom this summer for £7m, Oxlade-Chamberlain followed him out the door on a Deadline Day with a move to Liverpool for £35m.
Whilst Gibbs came through the youth system at Arsenal, Oxlade-Chamberlain joined at the age of 17 from Southampton.
Full-back Gibbs broke into the Gunners first team at 18 and went onto earn 230 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Wenger admitted that Gibbs leaving the club hurt him more than Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“Ideally you want stability and you want players who carry the values for the generations,” Wenger said ahead of Gibbs’ return to the Emirates.
“Overall it’s true that with Gibbs (it hurt) more than Chamberlain because he had been educated at Arsenal from the age of 10.”
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“When he arrived he was a left-winger. I transformed him into a full-back because he was not necessarily rated as a guy who would make it as a left winger but I saw something in him that was very intelligent, with pace, that made me feel he could make it as a left-back.”
“(Academy players) carry the values that you think are important, which are based on mental qualities, humility, respect and commitment, and as well football qualities which means you always try to play in a positive way. Plus real team play and focusing on a collective way.”
West Brom made their move on Gibbs before Watford managed to get a look in on the eve of deadline day.
Wenger proceeded to say that losing Gibbs felt like the loss of a family member: “Of course. And I believe that for (players that leave) it must be difficult to make that step as well.”
“He did not ask to leave, it was a mutual decision. He wanted to play – he’s 27, or 28. You want to play at that age.”
“It was a difficult decision but on the other hand when a guy has given you so many years you have to accept that if he is not sure to play.”
“It is a fact that we have got Kolasinac, you cannot keep three left-backs (along with Nacho Monreal).”
Arsenal take on West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates tomorrow night in the Premier League.