According to talksport, Arsenal have become the latest club to enter the race for in-demand Algerian Rachid Ghezzal. The Lyon winger is reportedly unwilling to sign a new deal and with a year left on his current contract, is open to a move this summer itself. With the player’s reluctance in penning a longer contract, both the parties are keeping their options open. Initially it was a two-horse race between West Ham and Everton, with the latter following on their interest. But France Football claims that the player turned down a move to Merseyside and with the Hammers signing Andre Ayew, Arsenal seem to have been alerted to the possibility of getting the player on the cheap.
After a summer which was mostly spent by the fans incessantly calling for Wenger to make new signings especially in defence and up top, the Frenchman has finally ceded to their request and ofcourse realised the need to strengthen his team. He started off by adding much needed presence and steel to his midfield by signing Granit Xhaka before making a low profile signing of Rob Holding. But fans believed the work was one-third complete and after several rejections and frustrated negotiations, the Gunners have reportedly agreed deals for Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez as they strive to address the long standing issues.
But after seemingly completing their transfer activity for this summer, Arsenal seem to have been enticed by the prospect Rachid Ghezzal offers. Though the trophy drought has been broken by a couple of FA cup wins, Wenger must have realised the success ratio for a club like Arsenal is nowhere near satisfactory. And despite his stubbornness in refusing to bow down to the changing norms in football, he has to try and balance his ethics and philosophy along with the standing of the club, which is ultimately demarcated by success nowadays. One of the long standing issue for the Gunners has been their propensity to lose important players to injury at crucial junctures of the season.
And more often than not they have had to deputise players out of position or young players who despite showing early promise generally tend to fade away as the pressure of playing almost every three days wears on them. This is where Rachid Ghezzal might come in handy if Arsenal indeed make a move to sign him. Having sent Joel Campbell off on loan to Sporting Lisbon, Wenger might try and upgrade the depth in cover in the wide areas.
The Algerian joined Lyon academy at the age of 12 and has come up through the ranks since. He featured for Lyon B 53 times and scored 10 goals for them. He made the step up to the senior side in 2012 and has since made 61 appearances for them scoring 9 goals in the process. He primarily plays on the wide left hand side but is also capable of playing in the centre and on the right wing. The 24-year old is a good dribbler and looks to play the final ball often. His passing is also spot-on and is a threat on set-pieces. But he will have to work on his finishing and aerial ability in order to fully blossom in the Premier League. He has represented Algeria 6 times and has scored 8 goals and further had 7 assists during the last season in Ligue 1.
And due to his contract situation the player is available for around £9m which will not prove a hindrance for Arsenal in any manner whatsoever.