Arsenal could be looking for a new midfielder this summer with Barcelona desperately wanting to sign Cesc Fabregas. Just who Arsenal will look to fill the Spaniard’s shoes is a mystery and one rumour doing the rounds is Fiorentina and Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo, but is he really good enough to step up to the plate?
Montolivo has started the last two games for Italy in South Africa, in place of the injured Andrea Pirlo. However whilst he has shown flashes of brilliance on the whole he has been quite disappointing as Italy have lacked a spark which Pirlo usually provides. Indeed the 25-year-old midfielder is of a similar mould to Pirlo and therefore not a like-for-like replacement for Cesc. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Gunners, but due to his style he would probably need a defensive midfielder alongside him to clean up his mistakes. Gennaro Gattuso has done that for Pirlo at AC Milan and Daniele De Rossi currently assists Montolivo in Italy’s engine room.
The playmaker was named as captain of Fiorentina this year and he showed great maturity in leading his club when given the responsibility, however despite his best efforts he could stop the Viola from finishing a disappointing 11th place in Serie A. His form was clearly good enough to get into the Italy squad where there was a lot of competition for places, his technical ability and superb passing skills were seen as vital to the squad by manager Marcello Lippi. However he does possess weaknesses to his game and is over reliant on his midfield partner to cover for him. Defensively his tackling ability isn’t great either which is one of the reasons why he needs someone else there. He has also been known to bottle a challenge or two.
In truth compared to Fabregas, whilst Montolivo is a good player he is miles away from being a successor to him because he just isn’t in the same class. Fabregas is a complete midfielder and could pretty do anything required of him; Montolivo is not able to do that. His passing whilst it is good isn’t at the same level as the Spaniard’s.
There is something missing from his game that is the difference between a good player and a world beater and Montolivo won’t ever develop that. By all means he could be a good signing for Arsenal but he won’t fill the void of Fabregas by any stretch.
Arsene Wenger would be beater off investing his money elsewhere on a player who is more of an all-rounder rather than splash out on somebody who excels at a few things but is lacking in other areas. Fabregas will be very difficult to replace at Arsenal but not impossible, however Riccardo Montolivo is definitely not the answer.