As the speculation increases regarding the creative midfield vacancy left behind by Mesut Ozil, a couple of players who have already showcased their talents in the Premier League appear to be on Arsenal’s radar. Wolves’ majestic Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves (23) and Norwich City’s outstanding Argentine Emi Buendia (23) are said to be under the watchful eyes of Arsenal’s coaching staff for a move in January’s transfer window.
Both are exciting, creative players and both are also at an age that fits with the current building blocks from the academy. If Arsenal could land both Neves and Buendia, it would be considered a great transfer window and one that could potentially solve the majority of the Gunners’ attacking issues.
I like this pair but Emi Buendia has the type of exceptional skills I like in an Arsenal player, especially in the midfield. He has great acceleration, poise, and vision and is blessed with two good feet. His touch is exquisite and he can attack from what some would consider an impossible position.
Facing his own goal with two players on his shoulder he can turn, drag the ball back, prod it between the opposition, and interchange from left to right foot as he bursts forward. He can shoot, pass short or long, attack through the middle or from out wide. This guy is a baller! Just over £20m will secure a gifted and emerging talent as opposed to the probable £40m for Aouar, who probably won’t be available until the summer.
Ruben Neves has been mentioned before in connection with a move to North London and is, in my opinion, an entirely different type of player but he’s similar in his desire to get forward and support the strikers. His movement and appetite are his greatest assets, he presses and pushes like a striker, but has the flair and creativity of a midfielder.
He does the simple stuff but can perform to a higher level when required. He can also hit a ball from distance or show subtle touches as a move unfolds. Currently, his value is estimated to be around £35m which is reasonably cheap for the quality Arsenal would receive in return, but would Wolves sell?
For the right price, yes. They’ve sold Diogo Jota to Liverpool and still managed to unearth new talent in the form of Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence, both of whom tore Arsenal apart in their recent meetings. Wolves have a superb scouting network in place and I’ve no doubt they could bank the £35m and buy another potential star for less than half that fee.
Targets: I’ve heard that the priority is one creative midfielder and a central defender, but I’d add another creative player purely because of the demands of a domestic season and the inevitable clogged fixture lists cluttered by cup runs. Signing either Neves or Buendia would be a nice deal, signing both would be like a cherry on top.
Front Runners: Aouar continues to be mentioned in the sports pages as does Dominik Szoboszlai, but Arsenal could pick up existing talent that has already been tested in the Premier League, which would certainly help with the settling in period.
I can dream, can’t I?