After initially being reported in March, Arsenal are again being linked with Barcelona forward, Arda Turan returned to the fore this week with reports in Spain suggesting the London club has spoken to the player’s agent regarding a move this summer.
The fee should be somewhere around the £21million mark, but for a 30-year-old, the signing becomes a risk and if the Gunners want to improve next season, they need to be aiming higher than the Turkish international.
A former Atletico Madrid star, he moved to the Catalan side in 2015 for a deal worth just short of £30million, but he has failed to find a way past Luis Enrique’s MSN attack.
In 18 La Liga appearances, Turan has managed just three goals and three assists.
Mundo Deportivo made a point to suggest that he has been picked out as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, should the Chilean leave the Emirates at the end of the season. In reality he is closer to Mesut Özil, but in truth he is miles behind either player in terms of productivity.
Even with the poor form the German international has suffered from, he has still managed seven goals and seven assists in the Premier League.
Turan an Arsenal option for the present
Arsène Wenger looks set to eventually agree to a two-year extension, which would most likely then bring his career in North London to an end. So he knows he’s not going to sign a player in his early 20s and develop him into a world beater. But to target a player on the wrong side of 30, especially when his numbers suggest, even with minutes on the pitch, he’s not a game changer, it’s a deal that makes very little sense.
His failure at Barcelona and contract until 2020 suggests that this is nothing more than his agent trying to continue to stir up interest so that other clubs become involved in a deal and maybe one of them would trigger his release clause or offer enough money for Barça to let him leave.
Alternatives options to replace Özil
Finding a player to replace, or even give the 28-year-old German competition in the final third, isn’t easy, but there are still more interesting options than Arda Turan.
You are specifically trying to match Özil’s creativity and the 2.9 key passes that he provides per 90 minutes. The Turk is behind on just 2.0 per 90 and there are others who would suit add more to the Gunners attack.
RB Leipzig’s Emil Forsberg, a rumoured transfer target for Liverpool, has completed 3.7 per 90, scoring eight goals and 16 assists in the Bundesliga. The Swede is just 25 years old, offers better movement and pace in attack and can play anywhere in the front line.
Impressive during his debut campaign in the Germany top flight, he has a contract until 2022, but cost similar to what they would pay for Arda Turan.
He’s not the only option, Lyon’s Nabil Fekir – a long-time Arsenal transfer target – adds 2.7 key passes and has four assists in Ligue 1. Even Everton’s Ross Barkley, while also bringing a more physical look to the final third, manages 2.6 key passes.
All three would be better options than Turan and help build for life without Özil.
Turan a bad option in attack
Arsenal have reportedly held transfer talks with Barcelona's Arda Turan. (Source: Mundo Deportivo) pic.twitter.com/wdU1lRwSsp
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) May 11, 2017
The Turkish international also falls behind when you look at his ability to beat players off the dribble. Forsberg again leads the way with 4.4 attempted dribbles per 90, that’s just 0.6 away from double what Turan manages.
When you look at how many passes the Barcelona man makes, the same as Barkley, it’s criminal that he only has two key passes, the Everton youth product supplies more with the same about of opportunities on the ball and both Forsberg and Fekir dwarf his numbers despite completing less than 40 passes per 90 minutes.
Arda Turan’s numbers just aren’t good enough to be considered an enticing option for Wenger next season. He’s too old to really transform his game and when you can sign other players for a similar price, it makes no playing sense and no business sense.
Fans still question the amount of money the French boss paid out to land Granit Xhaka, but look beyond his apparent dirty style – which just isn’t true – and there is a very good player there.
Spending over £20million on Turan would be a much bigger mistake and it’s an investment that would never turn into anything more than a decent bench option.
That’s something that the Gunners already have in abundance, it’d be easier and much more sensible, with two goals and two assists in just seven starts, to extend Santi Cazorla’s contract by another 12 months, than signing Turan.
There are much better options if you look a little deeper and the Barcelona flop offers nothing that the Gunners don’t already have.