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Arsenal offered 21-year-old rising star in high-profile swap – Should Arteta jump at the chance?

Justin Kluivert celebrates after scoring
Justin Kluivert celebrates after scoring

Why Arsenal should take the opportunity to sign Justin Kluivert

According to a report from Corriere dello Sport (h/t Mirror), Arsenal could sign AS Roma forward Justin Kluivert this summer in a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The Armenian is on loan at Roma currently, who want to sign him on a permanent deal this summer. However, they are unwilling to meet Arsenal’s £10m asking price. But the report states that they could be willing to allow Justin Kluivert to move the other way for Mkhitaryan plus another £13m in return.

A product of the Ajax youth academy, Kluivert burst onto the first-team scenes in 2016/17, becoming a regular member of the team since January 2017. He made 53 appearances for the Dutch club, scoring 13 goals and creating 10 more, before Roma signed him in 2018.

Since joining the Italian outfit, he hasn’t been able to make the desired impact. In 62 appearances for the Giallorossi, he has managed just 9 goals, while assisting 10.

Justin Kluivert in action for AS Roma (Getty Images)
Justin Kluivert in action for AS Roma (Getty Images)

Arsenal, meanwhile, have been slowly turning things around under Mikel Arteta after a torrid to start to the season, which resulted in Unai Emery’s sacking. There have been improvements in performances at both ends of the pitch, while the results too have improved under the Spaniard.

But given the difference between the Gunners and the top four teams, it is important the club recruit smartly in the summer transfer window. Defensive reinforcements should be the priority for Arsenal at the moment, but they should also look add a little more quality to their attack.

Arsenal need to address over-reliance on Aubameyang

Over the course of the 2019/20 campaign, they have appeared too reliant on captain and chief marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese international has scored 42.5% (17 of 40) of Arsenal’s Premier League goals this season. The likes of Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette have flattered to deceive this season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Arsenal's leading goalscorer this term (Getty Images)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Arsenal’s leading goalscorer this term (Getty Images)

Furthermore, Aubameyang’s future is also up in the air, with his contract expiring in a year. Hence, attacking reinforcements are necessary at the Emirates. And Kluivert has the potential to be a handy addition to the ranks.

While he hasn’t been able to live up to expectations since joining Roma, at 21, the Dutchman is still young and should improve under the right guidance. In his debut season in Italy, he managed just 2 goals, but did give 8 assists in 35 matches.

Kluivert’s goal tally has improved this season, with the Netherlands international bagging seven goals in 27 matches in all competitions, despite having missed a number of games due to a hamstring problem.

The 21-year-old would add more depth and quality to the squad at Arsenal. With experience, he can grow into a key player for Arteta’s side. Able to play on either flank or through the centre, his versatility and flexibility would provide the manager added options.

Justin Kluivert celebrates after scoring
Justin Kluivert celebrates after scoring

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Verdict

Kluivert hasn’t made the desired impact since joining Roma in 2018. However, the 21-year-old has shown immense potential throughout his career. Judging by the improvements in his performances this year, the Dutchman should continue to get better under the right guidance.

He would add more depth and quality to the Arsenal squad, who could be losing Aubameyang this summer. Hence, Arsenal should jump at the chance to land the Dutchman in exchange for Mkhitaryan – a player who doesn’t have a future at the club.

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