In today’s transfer rumours Arsenal, whilst linked to Chris Smalling quite heavily, have also been linked with two midfielders, both playing their trade in La Liga. Whenever, or if ever the 2019/20 season does draw to a close, there seems little doubt we will see considerable movement in and out of North London.
In one sense, Arsenal have been fortunate with the enforced break, with the loss of midfield enforcer Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan may now be able to return and play some part, with the campaign not scheduled to recommence until May, but the club still seem light in quality central midfield options. Without Lucas, Arteta is down to the bare bones, with only Xhaka, Ceballos and Guendouzi available, with the coach seemingly reluctant to utilise Maitland-Niles.
Most seem to feel that despite being selected by Arteta, ahead of Torreira of late, Dani Ceballos has not convinced enough, for Arsenal to spend the sort of money Madrid would want for their young international. Ceballos was initially used further up the pitch by Emery, and most Arsenal fans anticipated perhaps that he would be challenging Ozil or playing in a midfield three and it is here that this week’s rumours suggest we are seeking reinforcements.
If you considering a punt on our transfer business with an Irish free bet then the two linked stars are Carlos Soler of Valencia and French international Nabil Fekir, who so nearly joined Liverpool, but is now at Real Betis. Whilst Soler impressed for Valencia at the Emirates it is difficult to see why Arteta is reportedly and admirer of the 23-year-old, attacking midfielder. Multiple papers are suggesting Soler can be bought on the cheap as the Spanish side look to balance their books, but does £30 million really look value?
I cannot profess to watch La Liga consistently but for a player virtually exclusively playing attacking midfield roles, either wide or centrally (his preferred role) his output this season is less than impressive. In 28 club appearances this season, across all competitions, whilst he has 3 goals, he has a grand total of zero assists. I know this is not always the whole picture but with only an average of 0.6 key passes per game, it is not as if his strikers are missing the chances he creates, he just isn’t creating them.
While Soler therefore is not exciting me, Nabil Fekir, who today’s back pages suggest Arsenal are in for, is a player that many Gooners have admired for some time. We were annoyed that we cooled our interest when the player seemed to be heading to Anfield last summer, only for the midfielder to fall his medical. The skillful creative Frenchman subsequently got his move, but despite impressing at Real Betis, might correctly see Arsenal as a step back towards the big time.
Fekir has scored on 7 occasions in Law Liga which is a goal every three games starting either on the right or in the centre of an attacking midfield three. I suspect if the are true then Arteta mist be eying him up as an Ozil replacement. Fekir is an accomplished passer and has three assists in 21 matches for Betis but the attributes he can add to the 10 role, which the German lacks, (as discussed in yesterday’s piece on Emile Smith-Rowe) are his superb dribbling and potent long-range shooting. He has won MOTM on 8 occasions in his first season in La Liga, which speaks volumes.
In conclusion If Arsenal are going to spend north of £30 million on one of these two players, Fekir makes far more sense, to me at least.