Arsenal

Friday Is D Day For Di Matteo

Chelsea have reportedly set Arsenal a deadline of the end of this week to decide whether they want to keep on loan midfielder Yossi Benayoun.

The 32 year old Israeli playmaker joined in August as Arsene Wenger made a mad dash to bolster his squad after an embarrassing 8-2 defeat to Manchester United. Benayoun was expected to rejoin his former side Liverpool, but after losing Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas to Manchester City and Barcelona resepectively, Wenger made the move to bring Benayoun to Arsenal.

Benayoun hasn’t been one of the first names on the teamsheet but in a season where Jack Wilshere has been missing through injury, Benayoun’s contributions have been valuable – makin a total of 25 appearances and scoring 6 goals during his loan spell. But is that enough to justify purchasing him?

Experience is invaluable and Wenger’s teams have often been criticised for showing some naivety, so you can see why keeping a wise head like Benayoun around the place would be beneficial to the team and the young players around him, but Benayoun is actually still a very good footballer in my opinion.

He’s been an underrated player in the Premier League since West Ham United bought him from Racing Santander all the way back in 2005. He’s got great vision and is technically gifted but never seems to draw any plaudits. I think it’s because he does the simple things well and isn’t a flashy player, whilst he has been known to strike up good partnerships with strikers who feed on his brilliant service – see Fernando Torres at Liverpool for proof.

Chelsea have told Arsenal they want a decision by the end of the week so should they sign him?

Benayoun isn’t a starter for a Top 4 team, shown by his bit part displays at Liverpool, Chelsea and now Arsenal, but he is ¬†fantastic backup. He’s dependable and I think Arsenal should sign him permanently if the money is right.

I can’t see Chelsea wanting tons of money for him as he’s deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, so Arsenal should comfortably be able to afford him. Alex Song and Mikel Arteta both had great seasons for Arsenal whilst Jack Wilshere should return next season, but backup is crucial given Arteta’s injury history at Everton and Wilshere’s troubles over the last 12 months.

Benayoun provides perfect backup and fits in the ball playing style that Arsenal have almost patented in the English game.

I look forward to seeing Arsenal’s decision because if they decline the option to buy him then somebody else in the Premier League could get a bargain, though I’d also love to see him back in Spain too.

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