As part of Arsène Wenger’s rebuilding plans at Arsenal this summer – are we just in agreement that he’s staying now? – the London club are reportedly planning to try and recruit playmaker Arda Turan from Barcelona for £25million.
The Times are suggesting that the Turkish midfielder is an Arsenal summer target as they are resigned to losing Mesut Özil at the end of the season.
It’s a strange move for the Gunners, Turan is already 30 years old and has struggled to force his way into the Barça first-team. Even when he has been given a chance, with three goals and just three assists, it’s far from impressive.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 23, 2017
A much bigger star at Atletico Madrid, Wenger apparently tried to lure him before his move to the Camp Nou. Now, contracted until 2020, it would seem a huge gamble to try and replace Özil – regardless of his serious drop of form – with a player that also hasn’t been able to perform on the biggest stage.
This is a strange time for Wenger, even if he does stay one or two more years, you are not buying for the future, you should buy for the present and give the club players that are not a project, but a solution.
Wenger wants one last hooray, one final attempt to win the league and get past that pesky Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
Gylfi Sigurðsson: Swansea City
Yes, he is a former Spurs player, but that didn’t stop players in the past and he’s not moving directly to a rival.
The Icelandic playmaker has been involved in 19 goals this term, 11 of them assists. He averages 3.1 goals per game and 2.1 key passes. Not someone to take opponents on off the dribble, with just 0.8 successes per game, he is a dead ball expert and someone who can put a pass on a dime.
Give him too much space and time and he can pick a defence apart with his right-foot. Give him better players to find and his numbers can only improve.
Lorenzo Insigne: Napoli
With stories of his unrest continuing to cloud his future at Napoli, he would be a perfect summer signing for Arsenal, as recently discussed.
Playing in Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3, he would not only give Wenger as option on the left, but he is skilful and versatile enough to also play through the centre as a number 10.
That ability to drift inside, create and run in behind is invaluable.
Insigne is a little trigger happy, with 3.7 shots per game, but with 12 goals it is sometimes worth it. Comparable numbers in terms of chances created, his dynamism and energy would be a welcome alternative to Özil.
He’s still only 25 years old and with his agent suggesting that his client wants around £75,000-a-week, he wouldn’t need to break their wage structure to bring him on-board.
Bernardo Silva: Monaco
A transfer target for Manchester United, Monaco’s Bernardo Silva is a wanted man in Europe. A star for the Ligue 1 club domestically and in the Champions League, he has six goals and seven assists and plays almost as an outside No.10 at the Stade Louis II.
Still only 22 years old, he has impressed enough to suggest he is a player for the future, but one that can make a difference now.
Coming off the right-flank, he excellent at taking on defenders, with 1.9 successful dribbles per game. He completes 1.6 key passes and the same in shots per game.
Bernardo still has a lot to learn, but out of these options, he has the biggest upside and the highest ceiling.
Contracted until 2020, it would take a fee of around the £50million mark to get Monaco to talk, but with his current wage at £32,000-a-week, you could double that figure and have room for a huge transfer fee.
Forgoing the option to pay Özil over £12million a year and putting that towards someone like Bernardo, who has shown has ability to create and be a game-changer at the highest level, could be a much better decision for Wenger now, and for Arsenal in the future.
Look to the future, not the past
Bernardo Silva has now recorded an assist in each of his last three games for Monaco.
What a ball. pic.twitter.com/5He1F4d5Pt
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 15, 2017
Turan may have been a target for the French boss in the past, but he has clearly struggled at Barcelona and if the Gunners want to become a force once again, they need to chase the players’ other clubs want, not veterans who are being allowed to leave.
This season in La Liga, the 30-year-old has failed to match up to the others mentioned in every attacking category, with 0.8 shots per game, 1.6 key passes and 1.2 dribbles completed.
If Wenger wants to make Arsenal a force and replace Özil, spending £25million on the Turkish international is not the way forward and if he thinks that it is, he needs to turn down that new contract and walk away.
Arsenal need to innovate and rediscover themselves, with or without Wenger, that starts with a stronger move to replace any outgoing players.
Sigurðsson would be the player with Premier League experience, Insigne offer flexibility and energy, while Bernardo Silva has everything you would want in an iconic signing.