Even at this stage with Atletico Madrid second in La Liga and almost guaranteed of a spot in next season’s Champions League group stage, there remain rumours of players looking to jump ship. The problem is the “almost” and it’s the not knowing. The team are good enough to go all the way and the manager has emerged as one of Europe’s finest, but there are too many questions regarding the future of the club’s most valued treasure.
Arsenal have already been heavily linked with Adrian Lopez to fill in largely on the right side of the attack with a view to moving into the middle on occasion. But outside of the unlikely target of Radamel Falcao, it might not get more exciting than Arda Turan for potential transfers from the Vicente Calderon.
And here’s the thing: there is no one in Atletico’s strongest XI that wouldn’t be welcome at Arsenal. Koke was linked with the club during his teenage years but has since blossomed into a tremendous midfielder. Diego Godin remains a rock in defence and would unquestionably get more than a handful of games at the Emirates, while Filipe Luis is the left-back Arsene Wenger’s team are crying out for.
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Arda, however, is the attacking midfielder player the club need. Adrian Lopez managed to raise his profile last season by helping Atletico to the Europa League title and scoring 19 goals on the way in all competitions, but Arda Turan is something else entirely. With Arda, clubs will know exactly what they’re getting, having starred in Turkey and quickly becoming a key figure in Diego Simeone’s team.
It remains a mystery as to why no Premier League club went in for the Turkish international when he made the 12 million euro move to La Liga. There really are no excuses for that kind of slip-up from a whole host of teams. It’s not to devalue Atletico, rather they should be praised for landing such a talent for that fee and during such difficult financial times. But that fee will now be doubled for any suitor looking to pick up the midfielder.
It’s become a running theme to talk about players being ‘Arsene Wenger signings’ and whether they fit the bill for what the Arsenal manager wants. Arda Turan, like Santi Cazorla, falls into that bracket of players the manager should have picked up earlier before their stock began to rise. But like Cazorla now, the signing of Arda would be a monumental signing of intent by Arsenal. The player is a superstar and should be seen as one that would give the entire club a huge boost. He’s a difference maker and his signing would be a move that fans have long desired the club to make.
Arda has filled in mostly on the wings for Atletico, however he’s more than capable of playing the creative role just behind the striker. It was he who kicked off Atletico’s current La Liga campaign with their only goal in the 1-1 draw at Levante on the first day of the season, while he also played a significant role in helping his side dismantle Chelsea in the Uefa Super Cup. His attacking prowess remains impressive, but it’s his defensive work rate that really shines in Simeone’s team. It’s hard work combined with flair; it’s a reflection of his current manager and what he wants to see on the pitch. More than anything else, it’s everything Arsenal need for the apparently vacant position on the right flank.
Moving Theo Walcott into the middle should now be done and dusted and the player should be in rotation with Olivier Giroud. But on the right side, Wenger’s intentions remain clear to add another body. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may be that player in the future, but his age owes to a number of inconsistencies in his game. Tomas Rosicky would provide backup for a number of positions on the field, yet it’s obvious something would be missing with Walcott converting to his favoured position.
Arda Turan has the pace to be a success in Arsenal’s attack and their need for a quick counterattack, but he has the technical components to be one of the most impressive signings of Arsene Wenger’s time since moving to the Emirates. He’s a player who you’d have loved to see line-up alongside Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, but as so many Arsenal fans have said in recent times, the club are not too far away from becoming real players in the race for silverware. Arda Turan would go a long way to helping the club become legitimate and realistic title challengers once again.