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Arsenal should reignite their interest in Ever Banega this summer

According to the Mirror, Arsenal are ready to re-open their pursuit of Sevilla’s Argentine international midfielder Ever Banega.

The same report claims that Unai Emery is a big fan of the 30-year-old and Gunners prepared to dip into the transfer market to find an ideal replacement for Aaron Ramsey, who is expected to depart the club upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season.

Banega has a £17million buy-out clause and Arsenal are ready to trigger that, although his age might be a bit of an issue.

A part of the Argentinian national side that won the Olympic gold at Beijing in 2008, Banega has established himself as a household name in Europe over the years. He started his career at Boca Juniors before making a switch to Valencia in 2009 where he went on to become a seasoned campaigner, making 185 appearances for the La Liga outfit and winning the Copa del Rey. Banega moved on to Sevilla and won back-to-back UEFA Europa League titles under Unai Emery.

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The 30-year-old has also tasted commendable success on the international front, helping Argentina finish runners-up in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Copa America.

Banega is a technically-gifted and tactically-versatile midfielder who is capable in central, defensive and attacking roles in the middle of the park. Known for his quick feet vision, flawless passing and creativity, the Argentinian is capable of operating as a playmaker in an advanced role, whilst also dropping back to win back possession for his team. He has earned plaudits over the years for his tactical responsibility, work rate as well as game-reading skills.

To put things into perspective, someone like Banega would be an ideal replacement for Ramsey at Arsenal given that the veteran has worked with Emery twice at Valencia and Sevilla. The Gunners brought in the likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi last summer to shore up the midfield but Ramsey’s impending departure has once again left them with a massive void to fill.

Emery’s philosophy not only demands the midfielders to press the opposition off the ball but they need to have good enough ball retention ability as well. While an all-action midfielder like Torreira has proved himself to be a perfect fit for Emery’s system with his tough-tackling nature, Granit Xhaka has struggled to have the same kind of impact owing to his inability to retain possession well.

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Banega, on the other hand, is adept at dictating the tempo of the game, as evident from his pass success percentage of 85.1 in the La Liga. Furthermore, he has accumulated 144 accurate long balls, 41 key passes, 21 interceptions and 58 tackles so far, figures which speak volumes of his well-rounded abilities as a withdrawn playmaker cum central midfielder.

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Arsenal need to reshape their squad ahead of the upcoming season to cover for the departure of Ramsey and also get rid of deadwood by deciding Mesut Ozil’s future. With the versatility that Banega can bring into the squad, it has to be said that signing him would be a step in the right direction.

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