The 2020-21 Premier League season has barely just finished and transfer stories are already gathering pace.
One rumour which seems to contain some substance is the suggestion that Arsenal would be willing to stump up as much as £40m to acquire the services of Norwich attacking midfielder Emiliano Buendía. Here's why the 24-year-old Argentine would be a hit at Emirates Stadium.
🟡 Buendía has Premier League experience
Norwich's ill-fated 2019-20 EPL campaign is one they'd like to forget in a hurry. The Canaries lost 27 of 38 games, including a sequence of 10 defeats to finish the season, but Buendía was a notable bright spark bagging seven assists. Norwich scored just 26 times that season, meaning that he created 27% of all their Premier League goals.
Buendía is a hard grafter off the ball and an incisive, decisive player when he has it at his feet.
🥇 EFL Championship MVP
Obviously, the gulf in quality between the Championship and the Premier League is a steep one, but Buendía's return of 15 goals & 16 assists in 39 matches last term is a superb output for an attacking midfielder. He was rightly named as the best player in a notoriously gruelling division.
Emiliano Buendia is someone “that Arsenal are seriously considering as potential new signing.”— Back Again W/Troopz Podcast (@backagain) May 25, 2021
He would accept a move and Arsenal have had talks about him since December.
He scored 15 goals + 16 assists for Norwich this year in Championship.
Arsenal scored a total of 55 goals in the league last term, a paltry figure by their standards, and Buendía's productivity and inventiveness would undoubtedly help them create higher-quality chances for their strikers.
🎯 Buendía would get more out of Nicolas Pépé
The £72m price tag attached to club-record signing Nico Pépé weighed heavily on the Ivorian at the start of his Arsenal career, but he's hit his stride of late with five Premier League goals in May alone.
Pépé is nominally a right-sided attacker who likes to cut inside onto his stronger left foot. Buendía is similar, in that he has a tendency to drift into wider areas when his side wins the ball back, interchanging as a classic number 10 and a wide attacking midfielder, often occupying the half-space where Pépé thrives. With the Argentinian in the side, it's thought that Pépé would be able to spend longer periods closer to the opposition goal, and that would maximize the amount of damage he could cause.
Perhaps Pépé could even be deployed as a conventional central striker.
🧦 What about Emile Smith Rowe?
The contrast in Arsenal's form before and after Boxing Day 2020 could hardly be starker, and it's no coincidence that Emile Smith Rowe's first start of the season came in the December 26th win over Chelsea. The Gunners attacking unit looks more cohesive with the fluid off-the-ball mover Smith Rowe as its orchestrator. If Buendía were to join the ranks, he'd have to vie for the jersey with ESR.
Gooners around the world will be keen for the club's hierarchy to get any potential deal over the line sooner rather than later, with Mikel Arteta's side in need of some fresh impetus and creativity in the final third.