Arsenal must take chance on Pablo Fornals to enhance top four chances
Who is he?
Arsenal could be about to jazz-up their midfield with the capture of Pablo Fornals. The Spanish international is reportedly being targeted in a £17.8m deal from La Liga side Villarreal, according to The Sun.
Predominantly an attacking central midfielder, Fornals can also occupy either flank which will give Arsenal plenty of options to utilise his strengths. Manager Unai Emery is preparing for life without Aaron Ramsey after the Welshman recently announced his exit for the end of the season, meaning a deal for Fornals could be hurried through in January.
Fornals has made an impressive start in La Liga this season whereby he has featured on 12 occasions and registered one goal and an assist so far. In the Europa League, Fornals has notched twice, recording one assist in just under 260 minutes’ worth of action, according to WhoScored.
Arguably, there will be targets out there that Emery can consider with stronger stats but with Fornals only 22, it’ll allow Emery and co. to shape and nurture him into exactly the type of player to take Arsenal to the next level. Much has been made of giving Emery time to craft his own squad and with the Gunners on a 17-match unbeaten run, the potential signing of Fornals can justify this in the long-term.
Those who follow Fornals closely will know that his one La Liga goal this season was an absolute peach. From all of 45 yards, the former Malaga graduate crashed home a dipping volley which put Villarreal a goal up in an eventual 3-0 win against Athletic Bilbao. It was a truly stunning goal which provides a glimpse into his talents.
Suitable Ramsey replacement?
From Emery’s perspective, the potential addition of Fornals will see him jostle with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi for a spot in the starting XI and although the Spaniard would need time to adapt, his diverse range of passing and general build-up play will make Arsenal more potent going forward.
The Gunners victory at the Vitality Stadium was their first in the Premier League since cruising past Leicester City 3-1 last month, and although they are still enjoying a fine unbeaten run, three mundane draws in-between those victories suggest it is time for Emery to rethink his battle strategy. The Wolves draw prior to the international break demonstrates there is still plenty of work to be done at The Emirates and January signings are a must.
Adding Fornals to the squad will not only provide a seemingly adequate replacement for the outgoing Ramsey, but by providing competition amongst the rest of the starting XI, it should give Arsenal a much-needed competitive edge.
The North London derby provided Arsenal with a confidence boost, a 4-2 win against Tottenham sent the fans home happy and put the Gunners above their rivals in the Premier League. Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the hope of piling the misery onto Mourinho and his lacklustre United squad, who drew 2-2 away at a relegation-threatened Southampton at the weekend.
No matter the outcome in the United match, Arsenal must do everything in their power to sign Fornals to revitalise the attacking football that the club has been renowned for. Although Fornals is still young and raw, Emery should consider his compatriot in their quest to secure European football for next season. Who know’s, Fornal’s addition could see the Gunners rank high in the Champions League winner odds 2019.