Arsène Wenger believes Andre Santos still has a future at Arsenal
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger believes that Andre Santos still has a future at Arsenal - despite the deadline day arrival of Spanish left-back Nacho Monreal from Malaga.
Santos, 29, has come in for a lot of criticism from Arsenal supporters and the English media for his performances this season, but Wenger defended the former Corinthians and Fenerbahce full-back, citing his lack of games as the main problem.
"Maybe people speak that he had a difficult game [against Liverpool] but he lacks competition," Wenger told reporters on Friday morning.
"He is a style of player who needs competition because he is not a nervous type of player, he is a stamina type of player and get sharper through competition.
"Yes [the criticism of Santos is unfair] because if you watch the game again and you analyse very well his performance, you will be less critical.
"The first critics after the game are always a bit emotional because you have one or two big mistakes in your mind and we are all the same on that front. But when you watch the games again, you will see that he has done some good things."
Wenger moved to sign Monreal after the news that Kieran Gibbs will be out for around six weeks, and given that the Spaniard will be cup-tied for the Bayern Munich Champions League tie later this month, the Frenchman believes that Santos will get his chance.
"Honestly, I believe that Kieran Gibbs will be out for the Champions League because we are only three weeks away from Bayern now, not even three weeks and I don’t think he will be available.
"I will not play Monreal [because he is cup-tied] and certainly not Gibbs, but if you want me to tell you who will play, today I can't tell you. Vermaelen can play there as well and Santos could have a key role as well, yes.
"I believe we need two left backs," added Wenger. "You cannot play every single game with the same player. We had two before, we have two again now.
"If Gibbs is out for four to six weeks, from six it can easily go to eight [before he is competitive again] and that means two months in a very decisive period. It’s vital to have another left back."