Arsenal are said to be looking to add quality in the January market, with Barcelona’s Denis Suarez heavily linked with a move to North London.
The one-time Spanish international has fallen out of favour in Catalunya, and sees the Emirates Stadium as his next home, but the La Liga leaders are so far reluctant to hand Unai Emery their player amidst his efforts to reunite with the 25-year-old on loan.
Instead, they would prefer a deal concluded that sees Suarez move back to England on a permanent basis now for £20million. The figure is causing problems for Arsenal, though, who are attempting to negotiate a loan deal with the option to buy in the summer at £15million.
Signing Suarez also creates a range of potential consequences for the Gunners, and we at Football FanCast have considered the implications of Arsenal sealing the deal…
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While Juventus may be confident of landing Aaron Ramsey on a pre-contract agreement, the Wales international is yet to officially sign the five-year €6.5m (£5.8m) a season deal the Serie A giants have offered to his agent.
To avoid losing their longest serving player for free when the season draws to a close, Arsenal could look to engage the reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, and begin a bidding war for their soon-to-be out of contract star.
Calcio Mercato have also suggested Juventus would be open to the idea of taking the 58-cap Welshman now, but baulked at the Gunners’ £20million valuation.
Arsenal would have no need to keep Ramsey in their roster if Suarez were to join, as it would only serve to add further competition for the same role.
Outside of adding further competition for the same central roles, signing Suarez would be like putting a plaster over a broken arm for the Gunners.
The main concern with the squad is a lack of options on the wings, while centrally they are more than covered with the likes of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Mohamed Elneny, and the versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles can provide further cover when needed.
Instead, luring the Barcelona outcast to the Premier League would only strengthen the case that Arsenal have no great wingers in their ranks, and would be falling into the same trap as they have with Ramsey, by playing an attacking midfielder on the wing.
Whenever the Welshman features on the flank, he continually drifts into the heart of the field and competes for the same blades of grass as Mesut Ozil and forces the right-back, whether it be Hector Bellerin or Maitland-Niles, to try and stretch the opposing back-line on the overlap and in turn leave his side vulnerable to a counter attack.
Suarez may have played on the right and left-wings before, and under the management of Emery, but it is far from the 5 foot 9 creator’s best position and the ghosts of Ramsey’s past will continue to haunt the Emirates in the disguise of the Spaniard.
The deal to bring Suarez to North London is considered to be the Gunners’ only serious piece of transfer activity in January, thanks to a restricted budget and a reluctance to overspend in the winter.
If they concede defeat and purchase the midfielder on a permanent basis now, rather than their desired loan deal, Emery would be forced to tackle the second half of the season with a depleted roster of defenders, who are far from their best.
Konstantinos Mavropanos, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac have all been in and out of the medical room throughout the season, and have offered very little when fit.
The early signs of progress Emery had made reshaping the side have gone out of the window and goals continue to fly in, with Huddersfield the only Premier League outfit to fail to beat Bernd Leno since his league debut against Watford the end of September.