Italian reports suggest Arsenal could yet make another summer swoop, as the Gunners are eyeing a move for Uruguay midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, both Arsenal and Barcelona like Bentancur, who could look for a move away from Juventus after struggling to nail down a place in the side.
The 21 year-old was a key component for Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay side that reached the quarter-finals in Russia, starting in all five matches and picking up an assist.
Arsenal have already signed Bernd Leno, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira, and the 21 year-old Bentancur could be seen as a long-term partner for his compatriot Torreira.
Unai Emery commented on the Gunners’ business this week, saying he was happy with the signings so far, but that they will strike if a big opportunity arises.
Bentancur is ahead of Torreira in the Uruguay pecking order despite being a year younger. If he decides he wants to leave Juventus for a new challenge and regular playing time, it might just be time for Emery to make that strike.
It’s been a while since Arsenal had a proper backbone, which was probably the biggest problem towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign. The signings of Torreira and Sokratis will certainly toughen up the Gunners’ core, and adding Bentancur could be the final piece of the puzzle.
The 21 year-old, valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, can play anywhere through the midfield, and has displayed remarkable composure and awareness for such a young player during his first season with Juventus.
The tough tackling youngster can do a little bit of everything, winning 1.6 tackles and 1.5 aerial duels per 90 minutes last season, while also helping to drive his team forward with 1.2 key passes and one dribble per 90 minutes. He also boasted a tidy 88 per cent pass success rate, so would fit right in with the quick combinations fans expect to see plenty of next season.
In short, the Juventus youngster is a typical box to box central midfielder. He is calm and strong in possession, has great link-up play, loves striding forward, and most of all he absolutely loves getting stuck in.
If Emery wants to erase those away performances where the Gunners get blown away without an ounce of fight, then he’s going the right away about it by adding steel and tenaciousness in the middle of the park. Bentancur might not dislodge Granit Xhaka straight away, but at 21 and 22 he and Torreira could be Arsenal’s energetic, smart, feisty midfield for years to come.
So, Arsenal fans, would you back a move for Bentancur this summer? Who else impressed you at the World Cup? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…