Emi Buendia – Norwich
Everyone looks at Emi Buendia‘s stats and loses their proverbial s**t. In a quite abysmal Norwich side last season he crafted 70 chances for teammates, behind only Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold in the Premier League rankings. His key pass rate of 3.3 per 90 minutes was also only bettered by the Belgian.
In the Championship this season he’s already registered eight goal involvements in 11 outings, which has catapulted him into the headlines for the coming window. How much Norwich may charge isn’t fully known, but it could hover around the £25-£30m mark. Maybe.
Now, Buendia is very talented. He’s quick, direct and able with both feet, while he can operate across the forward line – although predominantly out wide. The issue is, however, that his stats at Norwich last season come without any context. They’re not misleading, since they’re true, but they don’t tell the full story.
The Canaries were atrocious last season, shipping in goals for fun due to their committing of a ridiculous number of bodies forward with each attack, with full-backs that rarely played in their own half. Daniel Farke’s side weren’t facing low-blocks every week, with Buendia allowed sit freely in the opposition half, relinquished of defensive duties.
For turnovers and counter-attacks, the spaces were greater for both him and his teammates to operate in due to the complete lack of balance in their shape.
Yet, despite that, you still need the ability to make those passes, of which he has plenty. What is needed though, is to take the stats with a pinch of salt and apply some context. Equally, if he was that good, why did nobody buy him last summer when Norwich went down?
He still is (very) good, but we’ve seen him tear apart poor sides in the second tier and operate with space galore in the Premier League, which sadly, Arsenal have very little of when they play.
If Arsenal could get him on a loan with an option? Absolutely they should snap Norwich’s hand off. He has English experience and the physical attributes to suit. Quite a large ‘if’, though. There is definite talent there, but perhaps not quite as much as is made out to be. Wouldn’t mind being proven very wrong on that one.