Arsenal have a void of creativity in central midfield. Here are three financially viable signings who could solve their lack of attacking craft.
Within any attacking system, having a creative player is a necessity. Without them, a team is limited regarding the type of goals they can score. Without being able to break a defence down, they must rely on counter-attacks, set-pieces or opposition mistakes to score goals. A team without a conductor behind a chorus of goalscorers is not an effective one.
Arsenal have plentiful finishers. However, their output has been somewhat restricted by the lack of opportunities being created for them. Consequently, a huge onus has fallen upon Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make things happen singlehandedly. With a bit more creativity, this onus could be at least partially lifted.
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And so, with the summer transfer window looming, Arsenal should be on the lookout for a creative player who can unpick defences. Such players, though, do not come cheap and identifying potential problem solvers in this area is difficult. Nevertheless, this is the position the Arsenal board find themselves in. So, here are three relatively cheap potential acquisitions who could solve the team’s lack of creativity.
3. Emi Buendia
In the midst of a campaign of darkness for Norwich City, Emi Buendia has been a shining light for the Canaries. The 23-year-old’s performances have gone somewhat under the radar due to Norwich’s underperformance, but his creative numbers are superior to any player in the current Arsenal squad.
Per FBREF, Buendia provided 2.88 key passes per 90 this season, with an expected assists per 90 of 0.27. Jack Grealish’s numbers with regard to his key passes may be slightly higher than those of Buendia’s but xA suggests Buendia poses more of an assist threat. It’s also likely Buendia would be available for much cheaper than Grealish, who has been evaluated at an astronomical £80 million by Aston Villa.
While the former Getafe midfielder has spent most of his time this season operating on the right flank, he gives the impression of someone who could play across the midfield. His small frame and low centre of gravity have led to some spotting the striking similarities to Santi Cazorla, and with a little bit of work on his defensive game, it’s undoubtedly a possibility that he’d be able to operate in a midfield three.
Let’s not forget he has been playing for Norwich City this season, ateam with recognisably poor attacking options. In a possession-based team, it’s likely that Buendia would gain even more opportunities to create opportunities for a higher calibre of player in front of him. Insert him into the Arsenal team and such promising underlying numbers could explode.