Italian full-back Cristiano Piccini is subject to interest from North London club Arsenal. The twenty-five-year-old, who joined Sporting CP from Real Betis this summer for a reported transfer fee of €2.87m, has been subject to transfer speculation from Arsenal and West Ham.
Piccini’s youth career development took place at Fiorentina but he made just one appearance for the senior team before being loaned out. A couple of season-long loans ar different clubs was followed by a third loan to Spanish Segunda side Real Betis.
After spending a year on loan at Betis, Piccini made his move permanent. In his two year spell at the club, Piccini went on to make thirty-three appearances scoring one goal for them.
Piccini plays primarily as a right-back for the Portuguese side although is more than comfortable in upgrading to the right-wing position should the team require. A technically gifted defender, Piccini is very comfortable on the ball and has all the traits of a modern day full-backs who is required to overlap and join the attack throughout the ninety minutes. The main concern with Piccini however, is his temperament issues as the Italian full-back is known for his ill-discipline.
Arsenal’s move for Piccini will see them bring some much-needed cover on the right side of the defence. With Hector Bellerin playing as first choice right-wing back for the Gunners, the only other players in the club in the position are French full-back Mathieu Debuchy and young Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Calum Chambers, who primarily plays as a centre-back for the Gunners has some experience of playing as a right full-back but fitting into the right wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation is a whole different ball game and Chambers does not have the finesse or the pace to play in that position for ninety minutes.
After losing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to domestic rivals Liverpool, Arsenal will look to bring in a new player to regain the depth on the right side of the field. Piccini’s move to The Emirates will allow him to serve as an able deputy to Bellerin and get a chance to gain some experience at the highest level.
The 25-year-old has already played for five different clubs and will want to settle down and develop his game now at a big club. Moving to the Emirates might see him lose regular game time but England’s busy schedule which means that the top English clubs competing in Europe, play around 60-65 games a season and Piccini will get plenty of chances to prove his mettle and develop his overall game.