Journalist Pete O’Rourke has offered his verdict regarding Arsenal’s reported interest in Lille midfielder, Amadou Onana.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the transfer insider suggested that the 20-year-old shares similarities to that of Gunners legend Patrick Vieira, amid reports suggesting that the north London outfit have opened talks regarding a potential deal with the Ligue 1 side.
O’Rourke stated: “He’s got the stature of Patrick Vieira, and if he’s half as good as Vieira was for Arsenal then I think Arsenal will be delighted to have him at the club.
“He does have all of the attributes to be a success in England. He’s a good ball player and has great energy.”
The one-cap Belgium international is also reportedly the subject of interest from fellow Premier League side, West Ham United, with David Moyes and co having had a €30m (£25m) bid rejected for the promising starlet.
It remains a sore point among the Emirates faithful that the club are yet to truly replace their former talismanic skipper – Vieira – 17 years on from the Frenchman’s departure from the club after a glittering spell under compatriot Arsene Wenger.
Plucked from AC Milan in 1996, the imposing midfielder went on to rack up 307 top-flight appearances over the next nine years, netting 31 goals and 34 assists in the league in that time, while also claiming three title triumphs and four FA Cups.
An integral part of the club’s famed ‘Invincibles’ side, the current Crystal Palace boss was a leader in every sense of the word, with his forceful, dominating presence in the centre of the park making him one of the most effective and respected midfielders of his era.
As the wait goes on to end the lengthy barren run with regards to league titles, the desire to finally replace the World Cup winner grows even stronger, with supporters no doubt desperate to see a midfield colossus of Vieira’s ilk join the club.
Many believed that Thomas Partey – who was signed on a £45m deal in the summer of 2020 – could be the figure to finally emulate the 46-year-old, although while the Ghanian still has time to blossom, he has largely been plagued by injury thus far.
As O’Rourke alluded to, however, the club could finally have the heir to Vieira’s crown in the form of young Onana, with the £9m-rated gem – who has been dubbed a “huge talent” by talent scout Jacek Kulig – having shone in France in recent seasons.
The towering 6 foot 5 giant shares obvious physical similarities to that of the club legend, while he is also a fierce competitor in the middle of the pitch, notably ranking in the top 6% for tackles made among those in his position across Europe’s big five leagues.
Although his youth would suggest he is far from the finished article, the £5.5k-per-week brute still enjoyed a strong 2021/22 campaign, averaging 1.6 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game and losing possession just 4.5 times per 90.
Clearly an impressive performer both with and without the ball, Onana could potentially be the man to lead Arteta’s side moving forward should sporting director Edu manage to strike a deal, with the Vieira-shaped void having the chance to be belatedly filled.