Arsenal leading the chase for the ‘new Ashley Cole’

Nacho Monreal may have made the left-back spot his own at Arsenal, but even with Kieran Gibbs as an able understudy Arsene Wenger is seemingly on the prowl for the man who will fill the position in years to come.

Monreal turns 30 next month and it can be reasonably expected that within a few years the Spaniard will have moved on from north London.

Gibbs is still only 26, but it appears Wenger is looking further down the line with reports emerging that the Gunners – Premier League favourites at evens – are one of a host of clubs looking at Walsall’s Rico Henry.

18-year-old Henry has been a regular for the League One side this term, and signed a three-year deal with the Midlands outfit earlier this season.

Henry claimed the Football League’s Young Player of the Month award in September, and ex-Saddlers boss Dean Smith has been highly complimentary this term about the youngster’s potential.

Walsall’s left back played the full 90 minutes in Tuesday evening’s 1-1 draw away at Coventry, where it’s been reported that Arsenal scouts were joined by colleagues from Manchester United, Leicester, Tottenham and Watford.

Having handed debuts to the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere when they were of a similar age, Wenger has shown that he doesn’t buy youth simply for the sake of it.

With the question in the back of many minds around the Emirates as to when the Frenchman may depart as Gunners’ boss, perhaps this is an indicator of Wenger preparing for AAA? Arsenal After Arsene.

Following their thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool in midweek, Arsenal’s next task in their quest for Premier League glory sees them head to Stoke on Sunday.

The north Londoners are 17/20 favourites for the match, with Mark Hughes’ men at 3/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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