Arsenal Opinion: Gunners would be better off dropping their interest in Antony this summer
The Sun understands that Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Lyon and Monaco are all vying for the signature of the 19-year-old £21 million-rated winger, with Premier League giants sending their scouts to Brazil to watch the teenager in action.
The same source claims that Arsenal manager Unai Emery is desperate to add a new winger to his ranks in the summer transfer window and the Spaniard has set his sights on the Brazilian in a bid to bolster his ranks.
A product of Sao Paulo’s youth system, Antony signed his first professional contract with the club in September last year and broke into the first-team towards the end of the previous campaign, making 3 substitute appearances in the league.
The 19-year-old has featured more regularly for the club this time around, starting on 4 occasions since the end of May. Antony has contributed with 2 assists from 4 appearances this season, although he is yet to net his first senior goal for the club.
The Brazilian prodigy has featured predominantly on the right-hand side of Sao Paulo’s attack, owing to his left-footed nature. Just like most of the teenagers coming through the youth ranks in Brazil, Antony has a wonderful technique for a player of his age and has already earned rave reviews for his silky dribbling skills.
His low centre-of-gravity allows him to keep exceptional close control and run with the ball glued to his feet, which helps him create his own space down the wide areas.
The jet-heeled, fleet-footed winger has also caught the eye with his slick passing and ability to create chances with incisive through balls in the final third. Antony boasts of a pass success rate of 82.4, including 1.3 key passes per game, figures which are a clear testament to his playmaking abilities.
To put things into perspective, Antony has shown strong signs of promise very early in his senior professional career, although he has made only 8 appearances for Sao Paulo’s first team and is yet to score his first goal.
He looks like a real talent at the moment but Arsenal should probably scout him extensively over the course of his first full season at the senior level, given that they would need to fork out a fee of £21 million to sign the winger.
However, even if a move to the Premier League does materialize for Antony this summer, it would be hard for the teenager to get a taste of first-team football at the Emirates.
Antony would probably go into the youth ranks at Arsenal where it will be up to him to prove his worth and break into the senior side.
Also, Arsenal should know that Antony hasn’t represented Brazil at any youth level or at the senior level, meaning that securing a work permit for the youngster in England will be a major issue.
Indeed, the Gunners need to add talented players to their youth ranks to increase competition but they have more important things to take care of this summer.
Unai Emery is likely to have to work under serious financial constraints this summer and the transfer budget at his disposal might get even lower after narrowly missing out on a top-four finish in the Premier League.
The Spaniard needs to bring in reinforcements at centre-back, left-back, right-wing and attacking midfield to build a formidable squad but he cannot afford to cover all the bases if he doesn’t have the necessary funds in the transfer window.
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Taking the current financial situation at Arsenal into consideration, the Gunners should forget about splashing such a massive amount on Antony and focus more on bargain deals for players, who would make an immediate impact.
This two-time Premier League champion must join any of these 2 English clubs for one last hurrah – Agreed?
Premier League Opinion: 2 PL destinations for Antonio Valencia
According to a recent report by the Daily Mail, Premier League newcomers Sheffield United are said to be eyeing up a move for Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia, as they look to add top-flight experience to the ranks.
The Blades boast a very young side and although they did extremely well to overcome the Championship last season, the Premier League is a totally different ballgame. Like Fulham last season, promotion to the top can have extremely scarring effects on some sides unless they tread carefully.
It was also suggested in a report by Sky Sports recently that last season’s Europa League finalists Arsenal are keen on bringing the United skipper to the Emirates, as Unai Emery looks to fill the gaping holes in his back-line.
The Gunners defence was in absolute shambles for many of the important league games this season and when it mattered most, they seemed to simply capitulate under the pressure. The addition of Valencia would go a long way in reinforcing a position that’s given the Gunners a lot of problems over the last couple of seasons.
Antonio Valencia is an Ecuadorean international full-back, who’s been a fantastic servant at Old Trafford since 2009. Out of contract this summer, a move away from United is imminent, with just his destination yet to be revealed.
He certainly still has a lot to offer to any side because of the sheer experience and quality that he possesses. His exploits for United over the years have become the stuff of Premier League legend and his leadership skills will be a massive boost as well.
Here are the two clubs keen on his signature:
The Gunners’ alarming need for a defensive revamp is quite clear to see now and if all the errors and individual mistakes were removed from their game last season, Unai Emery might’ve been able to take home a trophy at the end of it.
The right-back role has been a headache for Gunners fans over the years and despite the presence of injured star Hector Bellerin, there is a need for immediate reinforcements. Valencia has the composure to slot into a back-line and do a job for them and that’s why this move actually makes a lot of sense.
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The Blades will have to be extremely careful as they try to manoeuvre the treacherous Premier League waters after a long absence away.
Although they did enough to make it here without having to go through the playoffs, their squad certainly doesn’t look the best-suited to overcome the action-packed nature of top-flight football.
Valencia’s brilliant ability to get things going down the flank with strong forward runs will help their cause next season and they must sign him up before the other suitors get to him.
This towering 18-year-old wall would work wonders by joining any of these 2 top Premier League clubs – Agreed?
Premier League Opinion: 2 ideal PL destinations for William Saliba
According to a recent report by the Metro, Saint-Etienne’s French defender William Saliba is said to be attracting heavy interest from a couple of the Premier League’s biggest clubs this summer.
It has been suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United and Unai Emery’s Arsenal are both extremely keen on the young talent, who recently broke into the first-team at the club after working his way through the academy.
Although it was his debut season, he has shown no signs of weakness
from the moment he first stepped onto the pitch. The Frenchman is only 18 but was an integral part of Jean-Louis Gasset’s Saint-Etienne side that managed to grab onto a 4th place finish in Ligue 1 this season.
He is a tall centre-half, who certainly makes his presence felt by using his physicality to good effect. Despite being young, he showcased some excellent leadership qualities this season and also managed to keep his composure throughout the course of the long and strenuous Ligue 1 campaign.
It has been suggested that the youngster is open to a step up to the Premier League next season, with only his eventual destination yet to be decided. It was earlier believed that Manchester United were in the driving seat because the player’s agent was spotted near the stadium.
Despite this, it now appears that the Gunners have entered the driving seat in terms of negotiations, with a deal expected to be struck in the coming weeks.
Here are the two PL clubs where he could end up next season:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were defensively quite poor over the entirety of last season and if they are to have any hopes of breaking into the top four, let alone win the title, they will need to make multiple additions to toughen up at the back.
The inconsistency of players like Phil Jones and Chris Smalling needs to be dealt with and the acquisition of a young and assured head like Saliba would certainly be a step in the right direction.
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The Gunners’ defensive struggles have extended far longer than the stretch of recent memory. Despite the presence of experienced stars like Laurent Koscielny, the number of individual errors Arsenal committed last season cost them quite a lot in the grand scheme of things.
The addition of a youthful and dynamic defender who can add a little bit of freshness to the back-line could be exactly what Unai Emery’s side needs this summer.
Arsenal should sign this 21-year-old Serie A starlet for a cut-price deal of €12m despite restricted budget – Here’s why
Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should buy back Ismael Bennacer?
Ismael Bennacer, 21, was one of the rare bright sparks for Empoli in an otherwise disappointing campaign which ended in relegation from Serie A. The French-born Algerian managed 37 appearances in the Serie A, bagging five assists in the process.
And the 21-year-old’s performances haven’t gone unnoticed, with Calciomercato claiming the likes of Genoa and Napoli also said to be interested. The report adds, however, Napoli have moved to the front of the queue for his signature, by preparing a €12m offer for Ismael Bennacer.
Interestingly, Bennacer was sold to Empoli after making just one senior appearance for Arsenal. But the North London club had inserted a buy-back clause into his contract while selling him to the Italian club in 2017. Given the Algerian international’s consistent performances for Empoli this past season, the time is ripe for the Gunners to exercise their buy-back clause and beat Napoli to Bennacer’s signature.
The Gunners will only have £40million to spend in the summer window after missing out on Champions League, following their Europa League final defeat to Chelsea. Unai Emery has a massive summer ahead of him, where changes need to happen for Arsenal to give them a strong chance of finishing inside the top-four next term.
Having conceded over 50 goals in the Premier League, it is imperative Emery shores up his backline first before moving onto achieving other targets. Bolstering the options in midfield is also a necessity, following the exit of Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer to Juventus. The Welshman’s departure has left Emery with Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in midfield.
With Elneny set to depart, Arsenal need help in midfield and Emery must sign a player who is equally good in shielding the backline and creating chances in the final third. Thus, adding someone like Ismael Bennacer would make sense for the Gunners.
Bennacer ticks all the boxes. The 21-year-old is a defensive midfielder by trade but he is equally adept at creating chances with his creative passing and distribution skills. He is a tireless worker in the middle of the park, renowned for breaking up opposition’s play and setting his team for the counter.
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The Algerian international has a good turn of pace, dribbling skills and technique, which when combined with his tenacity and energy makes him such an exciting player to watch. All in all, Bennacer would undoubtedly bolster Arsenal’s midfield ranks, whilst filling the void left by Ramsey.
At 21, Bennacer has a long way to go in his career. He has impressed in Empoli colours in Italy and has shown just why Arsenal would be right in bringing him back to the Emirates this summer.
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