Opinion – Reviving interest in this 25-year-old Belgian superstar could do Arsenal a world of good


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Arsenal must revive their interest in Yannick Carrasco in January

According to an earlier report from Sky Sports, Belgian winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco was linked with a move to Arsenal. However, the Belgian snubbed the Premier League and joined Chinese outfit Dalian Yifang in February (h/t Calciomercato).

The Belgian started his professional career with Ligue 1 club Monaco in 2012, before moving to Atletico Madrid in 2015. He established himself as a regular starter for the Spanish club and was one of the most promising performers in the La Liga. 

Arsenal have finally gotten their act together after a tough start to the ongoing Premier League campaign. Unai Emery’s men recorded consecutive losses against Manchester City and Chelsea earlier in the season but the Gunners have resurrected their campaign with four back-to-back victories over West Ham United, Cardiff City, Newcastle United and Everton. Emery’s men carried their winning run into the Europa League as well and came away with all three points against Ukrainian club Vorskla.

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While new signings Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi found it easy to adapt to Emery’s philosophy right from the beginning, Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka struggled for form initially. However, things now look much brighter for Arsenal as both midfielders have visibly raised their game to comply with the manager’s tactics.

Emery has rotated his squad and experimented with his team dynamics to improve the results and provide the players with some breathing space this term. Arsenal have enough depth in their squad in terms of the attack but do not have the same cushion when it comes to the defence.

The Gunners have enough pedigree in the attacking third, with players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in their ranks. The manager bolstered the midfield in the summer by signing Guendouzi and Torreira but Arsenal lack a versatile player who can operate in multiple positions on the left. In other words, they need someone like Hector Bellerin on the left.

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Ainsley Maitland-Niles was supposed to be Arsenal’s first-choice left-back this season and the youngster started the first game against Manchester City. However, he suffered a broken leg and is doubtful to feature for the rest of the season. The Gunners have been hit hard by an injury to Sead Kolasinac, who will be out of action till December. As a result, Emery only has Nacho Monreal as a potential left-back option.

Granted, Monreal has fared pretty well so far but the veteran is already on the other side of 30 and Arsenal need to look for a long-term successor to replace the Spaniard. And Belgium’s Yannick Ferreira Carrasco is the ideal option for Emery since he is versatile and can operate as a left-back, left-wing back and a left-sided forward.

A player blessed with a sound technique, Carrasco has the ability to use his pace and dribbling skills to good effect while contributing to the attack.

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Not only is he adept at playing incisive through balls from the flanks but Carrasco also has the ability to create chances from accurate crosses. A good reader of the game, he boasts of appreciable positional sense and has the presence of mind to run up and down the flanks.

Operating as a wing-back, the 25-year-old has commendable recovery pace to track back and close down the attackers. Although he is not the best tackler on the pitch, he uses his positioning, intelligence and pace to successfully operate as a left-wing back.

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Having Carrasco in the squad will not only provide cover and competition for the likes of Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi, but it will also offer Arsenal the luxury of having a makeshift left-back. Hence, Arsenal should revive their interest in the Belgian and go all out to sign him in January.

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