By support

28th Dec, 2016 | 3:46pm

Three reasons why Arsenal must dig heels in and keep 27-year-old amid reported January interest

COMMENT By Will Butcher

Arsene Wenger must reject any offers for Arsenal ace Kieran Gibbs despite reports claiming he could be set for a January move.

The Sun has claimed that the 27-year-old is interesting new Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce, as he struggles to earn a place in the Gunners’ first team.

However, here are three reasons why Wenger must keep his England international full-back at the Emirates Stadium.

Ageing number one

With first-choice Nacho Monreal set to turn 31 in February, manager Wenger is likely to be reluctant in handing the Spaniard a new deal as he prefers to place his faith in youth. The former Malaga left-back is still considered first choice, but his ability could begin to deteriorate as he grows older. Wenger even dropped Monreal in favour of Gibbs against West Brom on Boxing Day and keeping Gibbs could mean the French manager has found his new first-choice left-back.

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Leadership qualities

Gibbs is one of Arsenal’s longest-serving players after moving to the Gunners’ youth academy in 2004. With 221 league and cup appearances for the north London giants, Arsenal’s number three is one of the Gunners senior members and offers a sense of leadership to the side. Captaining the Gunners on occasion, Wenger’s side lacks players who can inspire their teammates and that quality would be lost if he was to leave.

January is a difficult transfer window

Finding a replacement in January can often prove difficult for clubs. In the past, Arsenal have missed out on their top transfer targets and settled for a lesser player in the winter market. It would make more sense for Wenger to keep Gibbs at least until the summer when he has more freedom to search for an adequate replacement.

In other Arsenal transfer news, this Gunners midfielder is on Manchester City’s radar to replace Yaya Toure.