Thursday, June 1, 2023

Arsenal Eye Portuguese League Star – A Good Addition To Their Attack?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

According to several media reports, Arsenal are interested in FC Porto winger Yacine Brahimi as Wenger looks to bolster his squad before the close of the transfer window. Arsene Wenger reportedly tracked Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez in the summer but after the Algerian winger committed his future at the King Power signing a contract extension, Wenger has shifted his focus to the Leicester winger’s fellow countryman Brahimi. It is reported that the Gunners will be competing with the trio of Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton if they are to sign the attacking midfielder/winger.

Arsene Wenger was interested in getting some reinforcements in at the summer and he bought the likes of Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano and Rob Holding to add to his squad. The need of the hour was a top quality mobile centre-forward along with a world class center back. After the unfortunate injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, the team has been in desperate need of a defensive addition which their opening game against Liverpool once again highlighted. However, Wenger has always maintained his stance of doing business if he finds a player who will improve his team. Thus names like Mahrez and Brahimi continue to be linked with the club when there’s a clear priority of going for a forward and a defender instead of an attacking midfielder or winger.

The likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has not been able to provide the consistent performances from the wide areas in recent years in the wide right position while on the other flank, Alexis Sanchez has only the young Alex Iwobi and Jeff Rene Adelaide as his replacements. In terms of having experienced quality, Arsenal still lag a bit behind.

The inclusion of Brahimi, who can play as both a winger as well as an attacking midfielder has plenty of talent as well as the experience of playing in the leagues of France, Spain and Portugal. The two-time BBC African Footballer of the Year has also a great experience in the Champions League. There’s no doubt that he would add quality to the existing Arsenal squad.

The bigger question is however, about how he will fit into the current Arsenal system. Despite his goals and creativity, it would be difficult to include the player in the first eleven with the likes of Ozil, Sanchez and Cazorla in the squad. Also, Porto has slapped a valuation of £40m on the player which will be very tough for Arsenal to pay in this window having managing their funds for the potential incoming of 2 other players in a striker and a defender. It is highly unlikely that Wenger would be going for the player this term. While there might be some interest, we can safely conclude that this transfer is not likely to happen anytime soon, at least before the transfer window slams shut.


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