Over the course of Unai Emery’s first season in charge, Arsenal have been putting in better performances and are in the running to claim a very crowded top-four spot. The team needs reinforcing if Arsenal is to challenge for silverware, but so far, the likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi have proven to be inspired pick-ups, while Bernd Leno and Sokratis have also been strong. Lichsteiner has been a bit slow in most instances, but as a free signing, he’s been apt.
The only stain on the transfer policy under Emery has been the sole winter signing, Denis Suarez on loan. The Barcelona central midfielder has been very meek when not injured and given a shot on a Premier League pitch. Arsenal isn’t expected to trigger his purchase option at £18 million, but they could keep their attention fixed on the top two teams of La Liga, and perhaps bolster their squad with other players from the El Clasico combatants.
Gareth Bale may be for sale
When Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus this summer, the torch was handed over to Gareth Bale: the local press certainly didn’t approve. Bale is very talented, but he’s not Ronaldo. While the Portuguese superstar was scoring 40 to 50 goals a season while in his 30s, the 29-year-old Welshman has netted 14 goals and five assists in 39 games this season, despite coming for a greater transfer fee.
Maybe it’s down to Ronaldo having one of the more positive footballer’s rituals of always stepping onto a pitch with his right foot first, whereas Bale is known to just have beans on toast prior to a game, or maybe Bale is under the same pressure to perform at the Bernabeu despite not being as talented as Ronaldo. In any case, Bale’s days in Spain look to be numbered.
Even more damning for Bale is the fact that his old boss, Zinedine Zidane, is back as the head coach. The Frenchman had already tried to sell Bale for a good price during his first spell in charge, but now he is reported to have told the club to sell the winger at all costs while he ushers in a new era.
A team that boasts Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Gareth Bale, in the right system, could wreak havoc on any defence. Also, no need to worry about his former Spurs affiliation, Bale was a boyhood Arsenal admirer – as was Harry Kane…
Samuel Umtiti in Emery’s crosshairs
It’s a well-known fact that Arsenal need a long-term solution at centre-back. In fact, most teams in the top-six will need defensive reinforcement this summer. Due to a knee injury, and seemingly falling out of favour at Camp Nou, the World Cup-winning Samuel Umtiti has only played 12 games for Barcelona this season.
Unai Emery hasn’t minced his words when discussing Umtiti, calling the 25-year-old center-back a ‘very good player.’ The rumor is that Arsenal wants to take on Umtiti now that a season out of the starting XI has allowed fellow-Frenchman Clement Lenglet to shine alongside Gerard Pique.
Umtiti is too valuable and talented to ride the bench at this stage of his career and would fetch a handsome fee. After a season riddled with an ongoing injury, Umtiti may just fall into Arsenal’s price range and could hold the line for the next five or more years.
Arsenal shouldn’t be discouraged by the recent loan of Denis Suarez, or even the recent seasons of Mesut Ozil, and should pursue Barcelona and Real Madrid players if they become available, are the right fit, and come at the right price.
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