Arsenal have targeted FC Lorient’s Raphael Guerreiro as a potential replacement for the out-of-favour Kieran Gibbs this summer.
They have been impressed with the left-back, and hope to use their long-standing links with the Breton club to sign the Portugal international when the transfer window reopens. Gibbs has been relegated to the role of back-up this season, starting 12 games in all competitions and just three in the league. Nacho Monreal has made himself Arsenal’s undisputed first choice, and was rewarded with a new deal in January.
Arsenal will therefore listen to offers this summer for Gibbs, 26, who has two years left on his contract at the Emirates. Arsenal will also be receptive to bidders this summer for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The search for a younger replacement for Gibbs has led to Guerreiro, 22. Coming to the end of his third season at the Ligue 1 side, Guerreiro has impressed as a quick, tenacious attacking player who can also work on the left of midfield. Guerreiro, who has a Portuguese father and a French mother, was part of the Portugal team which lost in the final of last summer’s European Under-21 Championship to Sweden. Since then he has broken into the senior team, won three caps and is likely to feature at Euro 2016.
Lorient have made their name in recent years turning a profit on players they have signed from the lower leagues, most famously Laurent Koscielny. The move solidified links between the two clubs, dating back to the close friendship of Arsène Wenger and Christian Gourcuff, who stepped down as Lorient coach in 2014.
Wenger loaned Francis Coquelin to Lorient in 2010-11, and Joel Campbell there in 2011-12, immediately after he arrived at Arsenal. Gilles Sunu also went on loan from Arsenal to Lorient in 2011, later signing permanently.