Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes Kieran Gibbs will leave The Emirates in order to play regular football. Gibbs, a mooted target for Newcastle United, has had to make do with a peripheral role for much of his time in north London, and the arrival of Sead Kolasinac has seemingly pushed him further down the Gunners' pecking order.
Gibbs, 27, has made 230 appearances for Arsene Wenger's side since making his debut 10 years ago. But the former Norwich City loanee could only manage eight Premier League starts last season and will be looking for more run-outs in the upcoming campaign, whether that be at Arsenal or another club.
Newcastle are believed to be interested in Gibbs but are not prepared to meet Arsenal's £15m valuation for the 10-time England international. Winterburn, who plied his trade for the Gunners for 13 years, does not really see a future for Gibbs at his former club and believes a move to a side like Newcastle is inevitable.
"I think there comes a point in every player's career where you have to make a decision on the amount of game time you believe you are going to realistically play," Winterburn told the Shields Gazzette.
"I would suggest that maybe [Nacho] Monreal would be first choice for the left-back position, and Kieran [Gibbs] has always been a little bit of a back-up. Then you bring in another new left-back, you start to ask questions of yourself and 'where does that put me?'.
"My gut feeling is that Kieran will move on at some stage, whether it will be before the season starts or whether it will be in the January transfer window. Maybe he just wants to see what happens and how much game time he gets. It's very rare that you have three left-backs at a football club, so if you look at it from that point of view, I think that Kieran will move on.
Despite being certain that Gibbs will leave Arsenal, Winterburn thinks the Newcastle target may bide his time before seeking pastures new. He says it may be best for Gibbs to see how things pan out with Arsenal this summer and wait until the January transfer window to leave the club he joined 13 years ago.
"When that becomes public, he will have to look at the teams and the quality of who are coming in and where he wants to go," Winterburn added. "He doesn't have to move straight away if he doesn't feel it is right for him at the moment.
"He can sit on his contract and wait to see how things are developing for Arsenal and then for different clubs coming in and if not this transfer (window), than maybe January."