Plenty of daily speculation about what Arsenal are doing in the transfer market.
Common consensus seems to be that after Lucas Torreira is secured, Arsenal wil lstil lbe in the market for one more central midfielder.
Uruguayan Torreira will give Arsenal 5 options in the middle of the park:
Xhaka Torreira Ramsey
As we are likely to play a compact 3 in the middle, allowing us to get the best out of both xhaka and Ramsey, ideally we would want a 3rd central midfielder.
We look well set on the defensive side of things, but it is cover and competition for Ramsey that we need.
In the last 24 hours we have been linked with two French internationals.
Reports are this week that French international Steven N’Zonzi has handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Arsenal.
I would be very surprised if Arsenal are interested in a move for the giant Frenchman.
This is not due to his quality. He is certainly a different player from the one that spent 6 years in the Premier League for Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers.
Back in those days, Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis used him for his height rather than his footballing ability.
Since joining Sevilla back in 2015, he has dramatically improved as a footballer, forcing his way into the France squad at the current World Cup.
Arsenal are set to complete the deal for Lucas Torreira after the World Cup is over. That will mean we have the Uruguayan, Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Granit Xhaka all as defensive options.
With only Aaron Ramsey as an attacking option in the middle of the park, it does not make sense to invest in another defensive option.
Had we not been about to secure Torreira, the N’Zonzi stuff would make sense. But with 4 defensive biased midfielders, it does not.
Whilst a deal for N’Zonzi is one which I struggle to get behind, one for Adrien Rabiot is a deal that I can.
Arsenal have been linked with the Frenchman since he was a teenager and were reportedly close to sign him before he had made his break through for PSG in 2013.
Rabiot is what I would label an “old school” central midfielder.
In an era when you seem to be either an attacking midfielder or a defensive midfielder, he is a proper all round central midfielder.
A good reader of the game and fantastic on the ball, he is able to shield the back four but is also a creator – with 7 assists for PSG last season.
He was left out of the French squad for the World Cup, but this is more due to their style of play than Rabiot’s ability.
Didier Deschamps prefers these bustling, compact central midfielders who cover a lot of ground. The likes of N’Gole Kante and Blaise Matuidi. Their work rate frees up the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe to complete neglect their defensive duties.
The current France midfield is set up to get the best out of Pogba, which means there is no place for a passer like Rabiot in the first XI.
Deschamps went for Bayern Munich central midfielder Corentin Tolisso as his “passing” option in the squad. Rabiot also turned down a chance to be on stand by,
Rabiot might not be a direct replacement for Aaron Ramsey – he does not break into the box as much as the Welshman – but he is more attacking than the likes of Torreira, Elneny or Maitland-Niles.
He adopts a similar position on the pitch as Granit Xhaka; so would provide good competition for the Swiss midfielder as well as be the cover for Ramsey.
Xhaka and Rabiot working in tandem with someone more defensive behind them will have plenty of balance.
Jack Wilshere left Arsenal after failing to make the England squad at the 2018 World Cup, could Rabiot leave PSG for the same reasons?