The arrival of Thiago at Bayern Munich was always going to have a knock-on effect. Luiz Gustavo, who saw limited playing time last season following the club’s capture of Javi Martinez and the Spaniard’s return to full fitness, is now even further down the pecking at the Allianz Arena.
As much emphasis as there has been on Arsenal finding a new striker this summer, there is equal importance in bringing in a midfield addition. The club lost Alex Song last summer and never really had a good grasp on Abou Diaby due to the Frenchman’s perennial injury problems. Arsene Wenger seems to be attempting to address this, having already placed bids for Lars Bender and Marouane Fellaini. But the situation at Bayern and the availability of Gustavo is an opportunity far too good to pass up.
The Brazilian is well aware of the implications of this coming season with the World Cup in his home country next summer. Playing time, surely, is his greatest priority, having already won domestic and European trophies with Bayern since his switch from Hoffenheim in 2011.
Gustavo has come a long way over the past two seasons and certainly made an impression in Germany prior to his move to Bayern. The question previously was whether Gustavo was good enough to play the defensive role in a midfield such as Arsenal’s without a figure like Bastian Schweinsteiger alongside him.
Some of the Brazilian’s standout moments for Bayern came in the two-legged tie against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2012. On each of those two occasions Gustavo was fantastic, breaking up play and then helping the attack with surging runs forward. He’s strong, mobile and is good enough to contribute to the playing style on offer at the Emirates. At a fee likely to be around £15 million – Wenger’s comfort zone – Arsenal have an ideal target already gift-wrapped and waiting to be picked up.
Gustavo is a better option for Arsenal over Fellaini. The Brazilian has experience playing in the Champions League and alongside some of Europe’s very best. Having just turned 26, he is at the ideal age to be a mainstay in the Arsenal team for the foreseeable future, able to pair up with Mikel Arteta in a two-man anchor and act as a like-for-like replacement for the Spanish midfielder over the course of the season.
Much of Gustavo’s background, both in Germany and as a key member of the Brazil national team, will bode well for Arsenal, who have promised major acquisitions this summer. And while Gustavo also has an offer from Wolfsburg this summer, the prospect of joining Arsenal and aligning himself with the club’s ambitions for next season is a win-win scenario for all parties.
It’s getting to the crunch stage for Arsenal where they need to start acting as players continue to be cherry picked by the bigger clubs around Europe. Fellaini is likely to either stay on at Everton or move to Manchester United, while Asier Illarramendi, another reported target, was quickly snapped up by Real Madrid. Gustavo is not so much a last resort, but rather one whose immediate availability works in Arsenal’s favour. Picking up the Brazilian this summer would be a huge boost to Arsenal’s midfield, while not too many treble winners are floating around on the market for £15 million.
Would Luiz Gustavo be a good signing for Arsenal this summer?
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