So despite all the nurturing and chance giving to Justin Hoyte over the years – his upcoming through the Arsenal academy and so on. He was not in Wenger’s plans for the future after all. The versatile defender who played at left-back at the start of 2006/07 when Ashley Cole left, Gallas had not arrived yet and Clichy was injured – is now set to hang up the “squad player” boots at Arsenal and leave for Middlesborough like Aliadiere did last year.
Since Arsenal FC are not the fastest to announce news on transfers, Middlesborough have been keen to reveal they have had a bid for Hoyte accepted by the Gunners.
Chief executive Keith Lamb told the club’s official website: “We have agreed a fee with Arsenal and we have now been given permission to speak to Justin which we will be doing in the next 24-48 hours.”
Hoyte, indeed had a mixed time at Arsenal. Coming from the academy ranks, he was sent on loan to Sunderland and in 2006/07 enjoyed a frutiful campaign where he played in several Champions League and domestic games. Last year, the arrival of Sagna limited his opportunities, but was punctual this preseason. It looked as though Wenger would make him benefit a little this term, but ironically, Justin Hoyte is now favorite to be the next Arsenal exit.
He made 68 appearances and his only goal for Arsenal was the first scored by an English Gunner at the Emirates Stadium.
Amid reports of this imminent exodus, Wenger has spoken a sentence of assurance to fans. The meticulous tactician has today confirmed it is very possible there will be a new Arsenal player before the second leg of the Champions League tie against FC Twente.
He said: “Will something be done ahead of the second leg? Certainly yes, but before Saturday, no.”