Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said the summer departure of Kieran Gibbs to West Brom hurt him more than seeing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leave for Liverpool.
Speaking ahead of his side’s Monday night clash against the Baggies, Wenger revealed it was hard to let Gibbs go having coached the left-back since he was 10-years-old.
Wenger said: “Ideally you want stability and you want players who carry the values for the generations.
“Overall it’s true that with Gibbs more than Chamberlain because he had been educated at Arsenal from the age of 10.
“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.”
Gibbs struggled to hold down a regular starting place in Arsenal’s first-team, playing just 11 times in the Premier League last season.
But the writing was on the wall for the 27-year-old when the Gunners snapped up Sead Kolasinac over the summer.
Wenger said: “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.”