It’s no secret that Arsenal’s defence has come under much scrutiny in recent seasons, but their reported interest in Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka highlights the Gunners are looking at the right calibre of player at least. The 21-year-old has been a revelation since he made the first-team at Selhurst Park, and interest is expected to be rife for Wan-Bissaka over the summer transfer window.
Recent reports from Myphonefootball suggest that Arsenal are lining up a swoop for the talented youngster, but their ploy to obtain his services involves two of their own academy graduates moving in the other direction. Reiss Nelson – who is currently on loan at Hoffenheim – and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have been touted as the duo who could be used as bait in any possible deal.
Wan-Bissaka’s excellence this season
After making his debut in the Premier League last season, Wan-Bissaka quickly acclimatised himself to the rigours of top-flight football and was duly voted Palace’s Player of the Month in his second month of pro-football. Already a smash-hit with the fans, Wan-Bissaka has continued to excel during this campaign and has even been targeted by Bayern Munich.
Statistically, Wan-Bissaka has made the joint-highest number of successful tackles in the league with 109. Something which will bode very well to help tighten Arsenal’s questionable backline. The full-back also has been successful in 58 50/50’s, another key trait that defines Wan-Bissaka’s continued improvement.
His recent call-up to the England U21’s will give Arsenal another chance to assess his capabilities, and it surely won’t be too long before he makes the step-up to the senior squad. It’s reported that Palace value Wan-Bissaka at £40m, which is relatively modest in today’s market but Unai Emery’s side will likely need to generate the funds first of all.
Potential deal screams caution
The rumoured transfer fee is why the idea of a double swap has surfaced, and it will look very tempting from the Eagles perspective. But it’s hard to understand why the North Londoners would consider losing two of their own talented youngsters. Nelson hasn’t lived up to the lofty heights of fellow young Brit Jadon Sancho in the Bundesliga, but his season in Germany suggests he has bags of potential.
Maitland-Niles’ case seems somewhat more unusual than Nelson’s. After establishing himself in the first-team of late it’s clear that the versatile midfielder has plenty to offer across all areas of the pitch. The 21-year-old is arguably the most adaptive player in the Premier League, and his mature performances suggest he has adapted to Emery’s and the club’s philosophy.
That’s why it’s vital Arsenal look at the wider picture. Granted, signing someone of Wan-Bissaka’s potential will be a massive boost and prove an excellent signing for the club, but why sacrifice two of your own for the sake of one? Nelson has plenty of time to keep improving and to even consider Maitland-Niles – who has played so brilliantly at right-back in recent weeks – seems a tad strange.
Of course, it’s all speculation at this stage but if a deal was manufactured of this magnitude and scale, it’ll most likely come back to haunt Arsenal in the long-run. You can see if the Gunners can navigate their way past Newcastle United on April Fools’ Day when they’re next in league action, with all the markets now available:
Started supporting the club under dubious circumstances in ’97 but have never looked back since. I’ve only seen the Wenger era but continuously try to learn more about the history of the club. The Gunners’ results have affected my mood for every weekend for years now, I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I didn’t want to sleep the night we beat Barca! I reminisce about Henry every few weeks while Cesc’s wonderful passes play through my head every now and then! Hleb’s dribbles to Overmars’ speed always bring a smile, and I hope our current crop will stay a while.
Being a business major and a marketing professional, I believe there are always more than one way to look at things and that’s what you can expect from some of my blogs. Playing football for a number of years in various positions has helped evolve my understanding of the game though I still strive to learn more. I’m based in Karachi, Pakistan but dream of moving to London one day to be a ST holder!