According to recent reports, Arsenal are eyeing a surprise move for Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The Gunners are looking to add some more firepower to the team this summer after already securing Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurrien Timber.
Kvaratskhelia played at Georgian side Dinamo Batumi and Russian club Rubin Kazan, before joining Napoli in 2022. He was one of the standout players for the Rudi Garcia’s side in the Serie A and Champions League last season, helping them win the Serie A title.
The 22-year-old joined forces with Victor Osimhen to lead the Italian club to their first league title in 33 years. The Georgian attacker notched up 14 goals and 17 assists (stats via Transfermarkt) in what was his first season in the top-5 leagues.
According to Football Transfers, Arsenal have expressed interest in signing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia this summer. The North London side are planning a surprise move for the Napoli attacker and the club believe that they have two key advantages that could help them land the signing.
With star striker Victor Osimhen set to stay, the Italian giants may be more open to selling the Geogian forward. Furthermore, the Gunners have a great relationship with Napoli’s sporting director Mauro Meluso. Meluso recommended Jakub Kiwior to the English side before he became Spezia’s sporting director last season.
However, the Serie A club are known to be shrewd negotiators and will demand a record-breaking fee to allow their star man to depart. Arsenal have already broken their transfer record once this window to land Declan Rice from West Ham United. Nevertheless, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is one of the most exciting youngsters in Europe, and it will be difficult for Arsenal to pass up a great opportunity to sign him this window.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is a confident winger who loves to have the ball at his feet. The Georgian stands at 183 centimetres, higher than the stereotypical skillful winger profile. However, he is a great dribbler, and also elite at shooting and creating chances.
The 22-year-old possesses blistering pace but prefers to beat his man on skill more often than not. He averaged 2.68 successful take-ons every 90 minutes in the Serie A last season and was crucial in helping the team progress the ball higher up the field.
🇮🇹A goal and an assist to kick off his debut Serie A campaign⚽️🅰️
— Georgian Footy (@GeorgianFooty) August 15, 2023
He also created 4.86 shots every 90 minutes, while attempting almost 3 himself. Kvaratskhelia is a top-class finisher and needs only half a sight on goal to wreak havoc. Defensively, most of his work came in the higher areas of the field. The former Dinamo Batumi winger averaged 0.82 tackle attempts every 90 minutes in the final third alone (stats via fbref).
Role at Arsenal
Kvaratskhelia has all the right qualities to excel in Mikel Arteta’s system. The Georgian is comfortable holding width, but also has a knack for picking up dangerous spaces close to the opposition’s goal. He has his head up while playing, and is always looking for dangerous passes. Off the ball too, the 22-year-old possesses the required work rate to thrive in a high-pressing system.
Gabriel Martinelli currently occupies the left-wing role, with Leandro Trossard and Emile Smith Rowe serving as rotational options. The Brazilian is coming off perhaps the best season in his career yet. In 46 games last season, Martinelli had 15 goals and 7 assists against his name [via fbref].
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The Georgian would arrive as direct competition, if not as a replacement for Martinelli. Given his importance to the team, it seems highly improbable that Arteta will be looking to replace the Brazilian in the lineup. Furthermore, Arsenal have more than enough depth to cover the position too. Therefore, it does not make sense for the Gunners to spend an excess of a hundred million yet again to add another name to the roster.
Should Arsenal sign Khvicha Kvaratskhelia this summer? How can the 22-year-old fit into Arteta’s system? Let us know in the comments.
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