Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Arsenal Face Blow In Pursuit Of French World Cup Winner: Is Mikel Arteta Missing Out Big Time?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Marca, Arsenal target Nabil Fekir is keen on extending his stay at Real Betis. The Frenchman, who has enjoyed a lot of success in La Liga is adamant on continuing his career at Betis amid reports linking him with a move away from Spain. Arsenal have been among the clubs linked with a move for Fekir, along with Newcastle United and AC Milan.

Nabil Fekir’s success at Real Betis

Fekir initially joined Real Betis in a €19 million move from Olympique Lyon last summer. He was brought in as a replacement for Giovani Lo Celso, who joined Tottenham Hotspur in a season-long loan deal that was made permanent in January. Since then, the Frenchman is yet to disappoint, having become a key component in Rubi’s tactical setup.

Indeed, Fekir has notched up 22 appearances, scoring seven goals and providing six assists. His contributions in the final third have been critical in helping Real Betis somehow maintain their status in mid-table, despite a horrendous campaign that has already seen them concede 43 goals so far this season.

How Fekir would have slotted in at Arsenal

Fekir has been predominantly utilised as a winger by Rubi this season, which has turned out to be an excellent decision. The Spaniard has been able to discover the fact that ex-Lyon star can be extremely productive in the wider attacking role, ultimately suggesting the fact that the playmaker is much more versatile.

Real Betis’ French midfielder Nabil Fekir gestures during the Spanish league football match Real Betis against Sevilla FC at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville on November 10, on 2019. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

At Arsenal, therefore, Mikel Arteta could have signed him as an alternative for Nicolas Pepe. The fact that he can feature on both flanks as well as in the attacking midfield role would have opened up a host of tactical possibilities for the Arsenal manager.

Ideally, the Spaniard could have used him as a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been linked with a move away from Emirates, in the left-wing slot, with Mesut Ozil and Pepe partnering him in the final third.

A massive blow for Arteta?

Fekir would have also been a viable signing from a sporting perspective. He has a lot of experience at the highest level of football and having won the 2018 World Cup with France; he could have instilled the winning mentality into the Arsenal team.

However, it is fair to point out that the 26-year-old would cost a fortune, with the player still having a three-year contract at Betis. Either way, Arsenal are not getting their hands on Fekir anytime soon, which would undoubtedly serve as a blow for Arteta as he seeks to usher in a new era at the Emirates.

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