With Arsenal’s midfield looking very thin at present, Arsene Wenger is set to reinforce this area in the upcoming January transfer window and the player who is being heavily linked with a move to the Emirates this winter is Italian international Riccardo Montolivo.
The Fiorentina playermaker has just one year remaining on his current contract and has expressed his desire to leave the club in search of new challenges.
But Arsenal are not alone in the pursuit of Montolivo as Italian giants A.C. Milan have also expressed a desire to sign him.
Now this is highly likely to set off a bidding war between the two clubs, as both are in urgent need of midfield reinforcements.
But will the Fiorentina player be a valuable addition to the Arsenal squad?
Being an Italian international, he is bound to be a good player, but my worry, if we were to sign him, is how quickly can the 26-year-old adapt to the English game? If he comes in January, he will be expected to perform immediately for us.
With Wilshere missing and Song on international duty, Montolivo will have no option but to start playing as soon as he comes. Ultimately, this could be very difficult for him, as he will take time to get to know his new team-mates and adjusting to the physical and quick style of the Premier League after playing his entire career in the slow yet technical Serie A.
I believe Arsenal should begin pre-contract talks with him in January, as his contract expires this summer. If we can agree personal terms quickly, then we would be able to sign him for free just as did with Chamakh. That will give the Italian a full pre-season to grow and develop into the team and get used to his new environment.
With loads of technical ability and a strong midfield presence, the Fiorentina man would be a great fit for Arsenal and their style of play, but signing him in January would mean undue on a new signing.
Waiting until the summer wouldn’t do much harm to Arsenal, and Riccardo Montolivo would certainly be a lot more effective with an off-season under his belt.
Vivek Arulnathan for Gunnersphere.com