David Ornstein’s transfer news has become the stuff of legend in the Arsenal community, yet his latest update should make for worrying reading for fans.
The BBC Sport journalist revealed on Twitter that the Gunners were in fact still interested in Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, however a move for the Ivorian would be difficult given Arsenal’s limited resources and the Eagles’ valuation of £80 million for the attacker, and that the only reasonable way to sign the former Manchester United man will be to sell a key player such as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Indeed, Zaha could arguably make for a good signing for Arsenal as well as any other side in the top-six in need of a versatile attacker. Heralded as one of the best players outside the top six by the Daily Mail back in April, the 26-year-old’s ability to play on both wings and centre-forward based on position starts via Transfermarkt is something that few players can do in this age of the game.
Making 17 appearances on the left, 15 in the middle and a further two times both as a right-winger and a second striker, it’s clear to see he does boast the kind of talent to fit across the frontline. After the departure of Danny Welbeck – who made 5 appearances each as a left-winger or a centre-forward as well as 2 on the right and 1 as a support striker – that’d be useful.
Alongside his exit and since the failed swap deal of Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in which the Armenian winger has failed massively to fill in the shoes of the Chilean based on his stats (a pretty low 6 goals and 4 assists) from last season, the Palace star’s CV certainly fits the bill, but here’s why we think the Gunners are making a mistake going in for the Ivorian.
Frankly, the biggest and most glaring issue is the money. Sure, Zaha could be affordable if Arsenal are to sell an Aubameyang or an Alexandre Lacazette, but would the club really let go one of their most important players who both performed better than the Palace man next season based on stats from WhoScored?
The second problem with trying to bring Zaha in is that it immediately throws away any sort of ‘transition team’ model that Arsenal themselves stated on their official website when Freddie Ljungberg was announced as a first-team assistant coach.
With the likes of Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah all realistically having a shot at making the first-team next season given their impressive years last time out, introducing a big-money player like Zaha will completely block a path to the senior team for them, and in doing so halting an exciting project before it even got started.
Zaha’s qualities are clear to see with his double-digit goals and assists last season, but with the money that’s being talked about and the long-term plans affected by this move, they should steer clear.
Arsenal fans, do you think the club should sign Zaha? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!