Why Arsenal should keep their eyes off Stephan El Shaarawy
According to Gianluca Di Marzio (h/t Metro), Arsenal are in talks with Guangzhou Evergrande to bring in Stephan El Shaarawy on a temporary/loan basis. The player is keen on a return to European football and the Gunners could be his ticket to that.
Stephan El Shaarawy is a 27-year-old Italian winger who plays for Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League. He started and spent his youth career at Legion Calcio and Genoa from 2001 to 2008.
He broke into the Genoa first team in 2008. After that, he went on loan to Padova for a season. It was only at AC Milan that he had his breakthrough when he moved there in 2011. In 102 games, he scored 27 goals and made 13 assists but what caught everyone’s eye was how good of a dribbler he was.
A loan move to Monaco followed without much success, then he went on loan again to AS Roma. Again, El Shaarawy was back to his best as he managed to make more than 130 appearances for the Giallorossi and made 65 goal contributions (40 goals + 25 assists). Source – Transfermarkt.
He finally moved to China in 2019 as many players were doing so at the time. He hasn’t found the same touch since as he looks to secure a return to Europe.
Would the signing of El Shaarawy help Arsenal?
Arsenal are in a very delicate stage of transition as Mikel Arteta tries to steer the club back to being among the best in England. He has been successful so far with two trophies already in the bag. With new signings Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian (Sky Sports), the club look to be on the right track.
The signing of El Shaarawy would have made sense 2-3 years ago but now it doesn’t seem like a very sensible move, especially with so many forwards in the team. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette are all there and will be competing for places.
El Shaarawy has been out of touch with European football for a good part of a year and has nothing special to show for his Chinese sojourn.
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Arsenal are currently in pursuit of two midfield targets namely Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey (source – Sky Sports). However, they would also need to get some players off their books before any new signings.
A move for El Shaarawy isn’t exactly what the club need at this point. Another forward in an already stacked area does not help. Add to that the fact that the player in question has not played in Europe for a year and he would at least take some time to adjust to things.