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Arsenal would be better served signing this 26-year-old La Liga right-back in the summer – Here is why the move could work out

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Arsenal should start keeping tabs on Valencia right-back Cristiano Piccini

According to an earlier report from Turkish Football, West Ham were interested in signing Italian right-back Cristiano Piccini from his former club Sporting Lisbon. However, a move to the Premier League failed to materialize and Piccini completed a switch to La Liga outfit Valencia at the start of the ongoing season.

A youth product of Fiorentina’s academy, the 26-year-old failed to break into the first-team at his boyhood club due to stiff competition and spent time on loan at Spezia, Livorno and Real Betis, joining the latter permanently in 2015. Piccini thrived in the La Liga and subsequently had a stint with Sporting Lisbon before making a return to the Spanish top flight with Valencia.

Piccini has impressed with his consistent displays at the back this term and his fine form was rewarded with a senior international call-up for the UEFA Nations League fixtures.

Known for pace, skills and composure as a full-back, Piccini might not be at the top of the list of modern offensive-minded defenders but he is certainly a very useful player with his well-rounded attributes. While he doesn’t have a dazzling record of goals and assists, Piccini can be useful with his technical abilities, clever overlapping runs and inch-perfect deliveries into the box. He often uses his good close control and above-average dribbling skills to create chances from the wide areas.

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Well, someone like Piccini is more of a solid presence at the back, where he uses his composure, tackling and positional sense to keep the opposition at bay. The Italian international doesn’t dive into challenges but he likes to get into the correct position to dispossess the opposition, whilst also showing the commitment to throw his body on the line to block goal-bound shots and crosses.

To put things into perspective, Piccini has shown enough promise at some of the top European leagues and Arsenal should strike a deal for him next summer in a bid to overcome their defensive problems.

Arsenal have done quite well on all fronts under Unai Emery this season but the Gunners have been hit hard by the recurrent injuries to several of their key players at the back. They signed Stephan Lichtsteiner at the start of the season to provide cover for Hector Bellerin at right-back but the 34-year-old has shown with his lacklustre performances that he is clearly past his prime.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson aren’t the sort of players that the Gunners can bank on for too long and they definitely need another quality option in their ranks.

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Read More:- Opinion – Arsenal should replace their German liability with this Bundesliga prodigy in the summer

The Gunners need to reshape their squad in the summer ahead of the upcoming season and full-back is one area that is in need of investment. Arsenal currently have the worst defensive record amongst the top six clubs in the Premier League and it is a no-brainer that they should dip into the transfer window to bring in reinforcements at the back. That said, the north Londoners should start keeping tabs on the twice-capped Italian.

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This 22-year-old Arsenal target from last summer would be absolutely ideal for Emery to replace Aaron Ramsey

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Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should go all out to sign Djibril Sow?

Back in April 2018, a report from the Daily Mirror claimed Arsenal were tracking Young Boys midfield ace Djibril Sow.

Young Boys signed Djibril Sow from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2017 and he is coming of age in Switzerland, winning the Swiss Super League in his debut season itself.

The 22-year-old has grown leaps and bounds in the last two years and played in all six of Young Boys’ Champions League group-stage games this season.

Now that the Sow has enjoyed another solid season in the Swiss Super League, Arsenal should definitely reignite their interest in the midfielder and sign him this summer.

Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal’s current longest-serving player, will end his time with the Gunners at the end of the season to join Italian giants Juventus. The Welshman remains one of Arsenal’s most talented stars and still plays a key role in Unai Emery’s first team.

He might have divided opinion amongst the fans since joining the north Londoners but his commitment and ability to deliver headline moments have rarely been in question.

Down the years, Ramsey has been the one to provide the Gunners with impetus and drive from the midfield that has proven so crucial in big games.

The Welshman has been a committed player ever since arriving at the Emirates Stadium from Cardiff City and his departure this summer would leave a big hope which Emery needs to address ahead of the new season.

Djibril Sow could be that player for Arsenal, although he won’t be a like-for-like Ramsey replacement. Sow is a versatile player, adept at playing in different positions across the midfield. His skill-set is rather unique in itself and when coupled with his energy and ability to break attacks, the Swiss becomes incredibly hard to come up against.

The 22-year-old boasts a wide passing range and can link up play quite brilliantly from the middle of the park. He is also physically strong which helps him protect the ball and make lung-busting runs from midfield. Sow has a lethal right foot that is capable of delivering screamers, although he isn’t exactly known for his goal-scoring prowess.

Verdict

The acquisition of Sow will undoubtedly bolster Emery’s midfield options at the Emirates. Arsenal already have some promising midfield talents in their ranks such as Lucas Torreira, Mateo Guendouzi, Grant Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny all vying for a place in Emery’s first-team.

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The addition of Sow will add more competition for places within the Arsenal squad which could help them cope with injuries and suspensions better next season. Hence, it seems like the young Swiss could be a smart addition who’ll add some much-needed squad depth for Emery’s side to compete for the title next season.

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Arsenal should leave no stone unturned in signing this 24-year-old trickster to solve right-wing conundrum

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Arsenal FC Opinion: Emery should move for Brighton’s Solly March

According to TEAMtalk, Arsenal are interested in signing Solly March in the summer, with reports claiming that the 24-year-old Brighton and Hove Albion winger has impressed the scouts with his consistent displays over the course of the season.

March has been in terrific form for the Seagulls after penning a contract extension at the Amex last summer, accumulating a goal and 5 assists from 28 appearances in the Premier League this season.

The former England U21 international has emerged as one of Chris Hughton’s trusted lieutenants in the midfield, with the manager deploying the player on either flank and also through the centre in an attacking midfield role.

March scored Brighton’s late equaliser against Millwall in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup last week and also netted from in the shootout to help the Seagulls make it to the last four.

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A youth product of non-league club Lewes, March joined Brighton at the youth level in 2011 and made his senior bow in the Championship in the 2013-14 season. Since then, he has proven himself to be an excellent servant to the club, registering 11 goals and 17 assists from 155 appearances across all competitions.

Essentially a left-winger by trade, March is a tactically-versatile attacker who is capable of playing on either flank and through the centre in a No.10 role.

Blessed with a sound technique and a sweet left foot, March is known for his pace, sharpness, agility and dribbling, whilst also possessing appreciable game-reading abilities and awareness.

To go with his obvious flair and trickery on the ball, March often gets the perfect weight and elevation on his crosses to create chances from the wide areas.

The Englishman also has a keen eye for a pass, makes surging runs into the penalty area and always looks to put his left foot through the ball from outside the box.

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March has also made an impact at Brighton with his defensive contribution, high levels of energy and uncompromised work-rate, often chipping in with tackles and interceptions to help out the full-backs. He keeps patrolling up and down the pitch and never runs out of steam.

To put things into perspective, the Arsenal fans might not be over the moon on hearing the news of the club’s links with Solly March but the versatile and energetic winger might turn out to be an important squad player at the Emirates.

The Gunners need to invest in the summer to bolster their wide options and they are probably not going to make Denis Suarez’s stay permanent, with the Spaniard struggling to cope with the physical nature of the Premier League.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has blown hot and cold down the right, and while Unai Emery has Alex Iwobi as an option down the left, someone like March can add to squad depth and also increase competition for places in the first team.

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Emery has often gone in with a 4-2-3-1 formation and he might as well stick to that next season, which would require adequate depth in the wide options.

March has the tactical intelligence, well-rounded attacking and defensive attributes and the energy to play a big role in Emery’s system and, that said, he could prove to be a bargain for the Gunners.

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Antonio Valencia would be better off exiting Man United and joining any of these 3 PL clubs instead – Here is why

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Premier League Opinion: 3 summer destinations for Antonio Valencia

Manchester United have always paid keen attention to the transfer market and have a fairly dependable record of landing the players that they target. One such success story from the days of Sir Alex Ferguson was former Villarreal man Antonio Valencia.

The Ecuador international was brought in from Wigan as an alternative for the outgoing Cristiano Ronaldo, who made his switch to Real Madrid in the same window. But considering the heights that Ronaldo reached from there, Valencia replacing him effectively was instantly ruled out.

Now 33, his contributions over the years have been unquestionable and he remains the captain of the club even though his opportunities in the league this season have been few and far between.

With just 5 Premier League games under his belt this season, it would be no surprise to see him look for a move away. 

Reports arising from Sky Sports are suggesting that the Ecuadorean full-back is nearing his final months at Manchester United as his agent has confirmed that he will not be staying at the club beyond the end of the season when his current contract expires.

Here are 3 clubs who could benefit from signing the veteran in the upcoming summer window: 

Southampton 

The departure of Cedric Soares to Inter Milan earlier this season has hit the Saints team quite hard. Despite young Yan Valery’s resurgence in recent weeks, the addition of an experienced head will only aid Ralph Hasenhuttl’s cause.

Cedric Soares

Antonio Valencia still has quite a bit to offer in an attacking sense and considering that Valery is still a teenager, bringing the Ecuadorean in could prove to be brilliant as he can compete with the youngster for the starting spot while also mentoring him for the years ahead. 

West Ham 

Ryan Fredericks’ Hammers career has been hindered with injuries and while their move for Pablo Zabaleta last season was seen as a blunder, it actually worked charms for them as his experience really showed in their overall play down the right. 

Pablo Zabaleta

With Zabaleta now seemingly running out of steam, Valencia could be a good option to replace the Argentine as the Ecuadorean still has the stamina and physical capabilities to perform at the top level for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. 

Arsenal 

Despite the fact that this move is probably a long shot, Arsenal are one of the clubs in the Premier League who desperately need a massive overhaul in defence as individual mistakes and the injury to Hector Bellerin have hit them quite hard this season. 

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With the defensively unreliable Stephan Lichsteiner and Carl Jenkinson as the only alternatives, it is essential for Emery to bring in a replacement and a short term solution could be to move for Valencia who, despite his age, is still far superior to the aforementioned alternatives in terms of footballing quality.

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