Arsene Wenger is reportedly ready to sell full-back Andre Santos this January, after a series of poor performances and controversies over his character and attitude. The Frenchman has been outwardly calm and supported his player in front of the media but a Goal.com report claims he is actually furious with the 29 year old. Goal.com's report suggests that while Arsenal will listen to offers, they will not expect the full £6.2m they paid Turkish club Fenerbahce for his signature.
Santos was a deadline day signing in the summer of 2011, and has consistently failed to impress since then, with Wenger disappointed at his lack of concentration and focus, particularly during defending. The final nail in his Emirates coffin might well have been the shirt-swap with former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, during the 2-1 league defeat at Manchester United.
The defender has since apologised to fans and Wenger has been quoted as saying he accepted the apology but the general consensus is that Santos will not play in the crucial Champions League game against Bundesliga side Schalke in Germany; his exclusion is being seen as both punishment for his 'shirt-gaffe', and the fact that Wenger does not think him good enough for so important a game.
Santos' other disciplinary issues in north London included being arrested for dangerous driving.
As far as the game at the Veltins-Arena is concerned, Wenger will continue to be without first-choice left-back Kieran Gibbs, who although, is training after recovering from a groin injury, is not likely to be risked for the game against Schalke. Instead, it is possible Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen may be moved out to the left flank. Another option could be that Frenchman Bacary Sagna is played on the left, and 20-year-old Carl Jenkinson, whose fine performances this season have not gone unnoticed, starts on the right.
Meanwhile, the Gunners' French forward, Olivier Giroud, has stressed that he was always obsessed about scoring goals, even when he was struggling to find the back of the net for his new club. The 26 year old international, who signed from French champions Montpellier in the summer, took time to settle into life at the Emirates but his performances have improved since then. He now has three goals this season but is aware that is a poor return at this level.
"Scoring goals is an obsession for me, and probably for all strikers. I must admit, I've had a little bit of a difficult start but the boss and the coaches trust in me and just say, 'Don't worry, the goals will come soon. Continue to work hard in training - you have the right qualities," he said.