Arsenal’s search to add a creative midfielder to their squad has seemingly taken a step forward today after reports indicated that the Gunners are looking to pursue a player-plus-cash deal for Norwich City’s Emi Buendia.
The Argentine midfielder has had a stellar season for the Canaries after scoring 7 goals and creating a further 7 in just 19 appearances from midfield. Arsenal have been on the lookout to add creativity to their side ever since a poor run of fixtures saw them drop to just above the relegation zone.
Mikel Arteta has been aided by the rise of Emile Smith-Rowe. The young English attacking midfielder has record two assists against Chelsea and West Brom since the Spanish coach selected him for the senior Premier League side and Arsenal’s fortunes have now changed.
However, Arteta will be aware that to put all of his eggs in the Smith-Rowe basket will be risky considering any dip in form or possible injury would once again leave Arsenal lacking in creative options.
Mesut Ozil who was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League squad at the beginning of the season has recently praised Smith-Rowe for his performances and cited the importance of having a quality number 10 in the Arsenal midfield.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) January 2, 2021
Nelson or Willock?
Arsenal have been linked with a move for Buendia for a number of weeks, it is therefore not surprising to see The Gunners now move for the 24-year old. However, what is curious is how the Gunners are reportedly looking to structure the deal.
January is a month whereby transfers can be tricky to negotiate due to being at the midpoint of the season and sides unwilling to allow their best talents to leave without finding appropriate replacements quickly, which in itself can be difficult.
Therefore, Arsenal offering to send a player either permanently or on-loan to counterbalance the loss of the Argentine does make sense. The names being suggested are that of midfielder Joe Willock and winger Reiss Nelson.
Both players are on the periphery of the Arsenal team with Willock being the most involved of the two but primarily as a substitute. Both are 21 years of age and have been involved with the England Under-21 set up for a number of seasons.
It was unlikely that either player would see significant game time in the second half of the season. Both were used consistently in the Europa League group stages but with Arsenal being drawn against Benfica for the last 32, it is unlikely Arteta will look to rotate heavily for the matches with the Portuguese heavyweights.
Not wanting to stunt the development of the pair or for them to sit on the sidelines, Arsenal will likely look at either loaning the pair, with a deal involving Buendia a possibility, or to sell both players with plenty of youth coming through the academy behind them.
Arteta gives Reiss Nelson hope of opportunities as Spaniard confirms England under-21 international rejected loan
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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