Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Kieran Gibbs was not offered a new contract before departing for West Brom this summer.
Despite being at the club since he was 14, Gibbs was deemed surplus to requirements with the arrival of Sead Kolašinac from Schalke, and was consequently sold to the Baggies for £7m. With no clear path into the first team and his current deal set to expire next year - the English left-back now has a fresh start at West Brom.
Set to face off on Monday night, it will be the first time Gibbs would have faced Arsenal in his career, having been at the club for 13 years - and former boss Wenger has commented on the occasion, saying: “It will strange to see him in a different shirt because he is a player who has been educated here from a very young age."
As revealed by Standard Sport, the quotes provide a good insight into Wenger's decision for letting him go.
He added: "What happened to Kieran Gibbs is he had been bothered [by injury] a few times when he was in front of our players. Many times he was a regular player here, but he had some fitness worries as well and that stopped him here.”
Having made 229 appearances for the Gunners, and scoring on six occasions. Tony Pulis has an experienced fullback that should add to the defensive stability of his side, but also provide going forward.
Wenger continued in his praise of Gibbs: “He has become an English international here. He has made a good career here and I believe that Arsenal is very proud for that and Kieran Gibbs can be proud. I am sure that he will have great motivation and will have a huge influence at West Brom, and it can give another push to his career."
With the game on Monday night so crucial for both sides, once the ball gets rolling, sentiment will be thrown out the window - with Gibbs and Arsenal enemies for 90 minutes of Premier League action at the Emirates.