Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Gibbs focused on Gunners

Kieran Gibbs is determined to make a strong start to the season with Arsenal
Kieran Gibbs is determined to make a strong start to the season with Arsenal

Left-back Kieran Gibbs will not let his own World Cup dreams get in the way of helping Arsenal's quest to end their long trophy drought next season.

Despite being hampered by injuries and Arsenal signing Nacho Monreal in an £8.5million deal from Malaga during the January transfer window, Gibbs enjoyed a decent campaign for the Gunners, making 29 starts. The 23-year-old, however, was not part of Roy Hodgson's squad for the end-of-season friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

Gibbs maintains that even though all the international players will have one eye on the summer of 2014, that must go hand in hand with consistent performances at club level. Speaking in the official Arsenal magazine, Gibbs said: "It has been my best season so far. It is a stepping stone for me and now I just need to build and stay fit."

He went on: "I am sure I can do more for the (Arsenal) team. I was hopeful of getting into the England squad (this summer), but I was not called up. I will just relax now and make sure I prepare myself physically for next season, ensuring that I go into it with a clear head. I am really looking forward to it and hopefully we can all make it a special one."

Arsenal staged a remarkable recovery to overhaul Tottenham, having slumped as low as 10th following defeat by Swansea in December. Gibbs believes Wenger's side must use their momentum to get off to a flying start when the new campaign opens, which will see the north London club face a crucial two-legged European tie in August.

"The dramatic finale to the season made us even stronger, and we will be going into the new one head on," said Gibbs, who was capped twice for the senior England side under former manager Fabio Capello. "We are aware that we need to produce next season and have to make sure we are confident about dealing with that expectation."

Arsenal are to be busy in the summer transfer window, with the confirmation of the free transfer of France under-21 attacker Yaya Sanogo set to be confirmed when his contract with Auxerre expires on July 1. Juventus' purchase of Carlos Tevez is expected to leave Arsenal as the frontrunners for Real Madrid's £25million-rated forward Gonzalo Higuain.

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini is another said to be on Wenger's radar, although both the £20million-plus transfer fee and £100,000-per-week club wage package could prove a stumbling block, even though Arsenal have plenty of cash reserves to bolster the squad.

Additional funds will, though, be freed up by the departure of more fringe players. Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner is reportedly in talks with Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt while Hannover are keen to make Johan Djourou's transfer permanent after a loan spell last season.

Morocco forward Marouane Chamakh, who failed to make an impact at West Ham, will also depart, with Spanish side Levante and former club Bordeaux both possible destinations. Arsenal had already confirmed Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci will all leave when their contracts expire at the end of this month.

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