Arsenal have made Sevilla’s Ever Banega their January priority following the departure of Ivan Gazidis, according to The Sun.
Further changes are afoot for Arsenal after it was confirmed that chief executive Ivan Gazidis is leaving for AC Milan, which led to the Gunners to promote former Barcelona transfer guru Raul Sanllehi to a head of football role.
According to The Sun, Sanllehi’s first priority in the January window is to reunite Unai Emery with Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega, a player the Spanish boss worked with during his years of success with the Andalusian side.
30-year-old Banega is being targeted to provide further competition to Arsenal’s midfield and additional creativity from a deep role with Mesut Ozil’s form being inconsistent and Aaron Ramsey’s future being shrouded in doubt, potentially seeing the Wales international leave on a free transfer next summer.
At his age, Banega is certainly not a long-term solution to any midfield woes that Emery faces but the addition of his experience and talent could spark a new lease of life into an Arsenal side that has been shaky at the start of the season.
Banega would slot into midfield to compete with the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka for starting opportunities in the heart of Emery’s side, while his creativity could create the link between defence and attack.
Emery is attempting to install a specific style of play into his Arsenal side that sees the Gunners start attacks from the back but his team has so far lacked the drive from midfield, although Torreira’s introduction off the bench against Newcastle provided that spark.
Rated as worth £10.8m by TransferMarkt, Arsenal should only sign the veteran midfielder if Sevilla negotiates a fair price for the Argentina international as the Gunners cannot afford to pay over the odds for a player of his age.
The issue is that Sevilla will likely want to retain the services of a player who has featured in all of their four LaLiga matches so far this season and one who always has the capability to catch the eye, as shown by his two assists in three World Cup appearances in the summer.
However, if it becomes clear that Ramsey will not extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium then Arsenal should go all-out to bring Banega to North London to ease the midfield transition that would follow the exit of the Wales ace.