The summer transfer is in full swing, with all manner of names linked with Arsenal.
We’ve had everything from the ambitious to the absurd already, yet Arsenal and the rest of the Premier League have still got until October 6th to get everything finalised.
With the 2020/21 season a matter of days away, it is in Mikel Arteta and the club’s best interests to get things wrapped in quick time. That much we can be sure of. Chopping and changing with the campaign already underway, balancing player talks at the same time as organising your tactics ahead of the next game isn’t ideal. Therefore, immediacy is key.
Some deals *cough cough* are still waiting to be announced, but with the latest murmurings from across the rumour mill, it appears as if there are a few fingers in other pies already.
On such target is Saïd Benrahma. An arrival on English shores from Nice in 2018, the Algerian has been one of the standout stars in the Championship over the past two seasons, his most recent term with Brentford really catapulting him into the European limelight. 17 goals and ten assists across all competitions perked the ears of Premier League heavyweights, as well as those across the continent.
Make no doubt about it, Benrahma is quite special footballer. With more tricks than a clown’s pocket, he boasts a willingness to take on his man at any given opportunity. He’s the kind of player who really gets supporters up off their seats in anticipation.
He plays in a similar vein to Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin, in that he loves driving with the ball at his feet, slicing through defences and leaving any modicum of shape in the opposition formation in tatters. For defenders, his unpredictability is genuine cause for concern.
Given Brentford’s failure to secure promotion last season, players of his ilk are now available for sale at the right price. His valuation is thought the hover around the £25m mark, and Arsenal have joined a swathe of interested parties in registering an interest.
How necessary of a signing would he be, though?
Sure, when talent of his level comes available it shouldn’t be overlooked. But when you’re heading into a summer window with a plethora of other areas that need bolstering, stretching an already thin budget on another forward seems wholly unnecessary.
Since he hasn’t kicked a ball for the club yet, it’s easy to gloss over Willian’s arrival, a player Arteta was hell-bent on signing, citing his “versatility” as one of primary reasons for luring him across London.
Then there is the elephant in the room to address: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Benrahma is a left-winger. On only a handful of occasions last term was he deployed on the opposite flank, but this was only to account for injuries and suspensions.
As we’re all very well aware, that’s where Aubameyang plays. Now, there is the discussion of whether he may be drafted into a centre forward role for the coming campaign, but all the signs indicate very strongly that this won’t be the case. The primary one being that he’s been nothing short of outstanding on the left hand side. It goes without saying.
There is scope for that to change, though, but it would require a player leaving who, as of yet, we’re in limbo as to whether they will.
Should Alexandre Lacazette depart, then Aubameyang could move infield with Benrahma coming in on the flank; but then there is also Bukayo Saka and Willian to consider, not to mention Gabriel Martinelli who will be back from injury before the calendar year.
Arsenal are, in no lesser terms, well stocked in that department.
The spine of the team needs amending first of all. The standout deficiency is in midfield. A substantial turnover in that area of the pitch will require the full attention of transfer planning, not bolstering the one position of the squad where there are no cries for help. It just doesn’t make sense.
Of course, we must trust the manager. Him and Edu. We always will, he’s earned that from us. But unless there are other goings-on behind the scenes we’re not familiar with, then this path is one not worth following.