4 players for Arsenal to scout at 2024 Copa America

  • 2024 Copa America gets underway on 21 June
  • Opportunity for Arsenal to take a look at talent from the Americas
  • Gunners in the market for left-sided defender, midfielder, and versatile forward
Willian Pacho in action against the GOAT
Willian Pacho in action against the GOAT / JUAN MABROMATA/GettyImages

Remember folks, it's not just the Euros that's making up this summer feast of football. The 2024 Copa America is about to get underway!

The expanded tournament, held in the USA, provides clubs from Europe with the ultimate opportunity to scout talent from across the Americas.

Arsenal's Edu Gaspar has previously taken advantage of the Brazilian market, but perhaps not to the degree he should've done. However, the Copa America merely isn't about Brazil. There are 16 teams in action over the next few weeks, and there's bound to be a litany of stars you probably haven't heard of making their names.

Arsenal have so far been pretty quiet on the transfer front after Benjamin Sesko signed a contract extension with RB Leipzig, but the conclusion of these two major tournaments should spark them, and the rest of Europe, into life.

Here are four players for the Gunners to scout at the 2024 Copa America.

1. Willian Pacho

Pacho (#6) has played just two full seasons in Europe / KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/GettyImages

While it may not be a priority position, Arsenal are in the market for a left-sided defender this summer and a move for reported target Jorrel Hato appears hard to pull off.

However, there are options for the club to consider in the US.

Piero Hincapie is the Ecuadorian defender you may have heard something about, and Arsenal could have a look at him, but Willian Pacho is the fresher name on the block with perhaps greater upside.

Pacho has 11 caps for his country after failing to play a single minute at the 2022 World Cup. The 22-year-old currently plies his trade at Eintracht Frankfurt, and he was a near ever-present during the 2023/24 season. While his passing and overall work with the ball requires refinement, Pacho boasts the raw physical attributes needed to evolve into a lockdown defender.

He has drawn comparisons to Evan N'Dicka, whom Arsenal were linked with before he joined AS Roma.

2. Jhon Lucumi

Jhon Lucumi
Lucumi enjoyed an excellent season with Bologna / Warren Little/GettyImages

Lucumi, like Pacho, earned his big European move via the Belgian Pro League. The 25-year-old Colombian joined Bologna in 2022 having spent four seasons at Genk.

Lucumi has plenty of experience in Europe and is heading into the Copa American off the back of a wonderful 2023/24 in Serie A. While Riccardo Calafiori garnered plenty of plaudits for his utterly bonkers role in Thiago Motta's set-up, Lucumi was a dependable and reliable figure at the heart of Bologna's backline as the Rossoblu qualified for the Champions League.

Lucumi wouldn't have been able to survive under Motta if he wasn't cool, calm, and collected with the ball. His 93% pass completion was the highest in Serie A, and he also displayed some comfort at receiving and progressing from a midfield position.

The 25-year-old has previously been labelled as Colombia's best defender by Mario Ypres, with Lucumi boasting sound one-on-one capabilities and an impressive turn of pace when forced to recover. Overall, he seems like an excellent fit for a hybrid role in Mikel Arteta's system.

3. Ismael Kone

Netherlands v Canada - International Friendly
Ismael Kone has a big role to play for Canada this summer / Rene Nijhuis/MB Media/GettyImages

Expectations may not be particularly high for Canada at the start of Jesse Marsch's reign this summer, but midfielder Kone is poised to sparkle.

After John Herdman opted for experience over youth in the middle of the park at the 2022 World Cup, Kone has been a mainstay for the national team and has racked up 22 caps before the start of this tournament.

The 22-year-old currently plays for Watford in the Championship and has coped with the famed physicality of the division thanks to his imposing frame and low-key turn of pace. Kone, though, is much more than a physical specimen.

He's the epitome of a do-it-all midfielder that won't be consigned to one function. There are aspects of N'Golo Kante to his game out of possession, but Kone also boasts class and guile with it, too (not to say Kante doesn't!). The young midfielder plays without fear and always takes responsibility in possession, never hiding.

His ball-carrying is a particular trait to keep an eye on, with Arsenal poised to spend big in midfield this summer.

4. Yaser Asprilla

Asprilla was named Watford's Young Player of the Year / OSCAR DEL POZO/GettyImages

Folarin Balogun and Marcelo Flores are among the former Arsenal forwards showcasing their talents at the Copa America.

In truth, there doesn't appear to be an overwhelming abundance of potential stars in advanced areas for the Gunners to have a look at. The club, for example, are already well aware of Santiago Gimenez's capabilities.

Thus, we've opted for a project option here in Asprilla - another Watford starlet.

The baby-faced 20-year-old is certainly no outright #9, but reports suggest the club may be deviating away from the striker market having missed out on Sesko.

Asprilla is a spritely playmaker capable of wreaking havoc down the flanks and in more central positions. He's got quick feet and a penchant for pulling off the spectacular. Asprilla scored twice in his first five caps for Colombia and has drawn lofty comparisons to Ronaldinho.

He boasts a wonderful left foot and is a lovely player to watch in tight spaces. His unpredictability and variation allow him to wriggle out of unfavourable situations and create space out of nothing in the final third. Having been named Watford's Young Player of the Year last season, Asprilla has already caught the eye of a few, and he's got a great chance to showcase his ability to a wider audience this summer.