Tag Archives: leon bailey

6 better alternatives for Arsenal than £70million Wilfried Zaha

At a reported £70million, Wilfried Zaha is over priced and overrated.

Zaha turns 27 next season, and last year was the first time he had ever scored 10 league goals in a single campaign. Crystal Palace’s reported £70million asking price for the Ivorian-turned-Englishman-turned-Ivorian is too much for a player with his ability and age.

We Zaha 22 or 23, you would be entitled to think “fantastic young talent” but he is not. In November he turns 27. That means he is not going to get much better. He is at his peak. And any transfer fee spent on him is unlikely to be recouped.

Last season he had a decent season. But it was not an exceptional one. Yes, he scored 10 goals, but he averaged nearly 300 minutes per goal. The much maligned Theo Walcott Only averaged as high as this twice in his Arsenal career, the last being when he was 22.

Even if he was on the market at £40million, I would still feel that as overpriced. There are younger, cheaper, more exciting players in world football.

Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal were linked with Lille forward Nicolas Pepe last summer after he scored 14 goals in 38 games. This season he has netted 21 times and notched 13 assists.

“Nicolas Pepe will leave,” Lille manager Christophe Galtier recently told Canal+.

He has been linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in recent weeks and with a reported transfer fee of £70million, Pepe would take up a huge chunk of the transfer budget for any club.

Whilst he would be an expensive signing, he is 2 years Zaha’s junior and a lot more talented.

Ismaila Sarr

21-year-old Ismaila Sarr is a raw talent. Lightening quick, his end product does let him down and needs work.

If Pepe is too expensive at £70million, Sarr is a more reasonably priced £25million. 2 years younger, he could become as good as Pepe.

Jose Mourinho recently compared Sarr to Barcelona’s Ousman Dembele.

Julian Brandt

German international Julian Brandt is a little bit different to many on this list.

He does not posses the lightening quick speed and directness of others on this list, but he is arguably the best all round footballer.

Brandt has pretty much played everyone for Bayer Leverkusen this season, including one game at left back.

A versatile player who can play on the wing or down the middle, as well as deeper. He does not have the pace of someone like his team mate Leon Bailey, but he makes up for it with excellent movement and technique.  He reminds me a lot of Santi Cazorla (except about a foot taller).

It was Brandt who kept Leroy Sane out of the German World Cup squad last summer.

Whilst Brandt would do a job out wide, there is a feeling that, in the long term, his best position is a number 10.

With a reported release clause of £21.6 million, and Brandt being a long term Mesut Ozil replacement, it makes sense to sign the 23-year-old ahead of Zaha

Hakim Ziyech

With a reported £25million release clause, Hakim Ziyech has come to a lot of peoples attention following Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-final.

Just 6 months younger than Zaha, Ziyech is at his peak and there are doubts over whether he would be able to step up to a top end Premier League team.

Last season Brighton signed Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who arrived on the South coast with a similar reputation as Ziyech. Jahanbakhsh went from top scorer in the Eredivisie to not netting a single goal in the Premier League.

Not blessed with a lot of pace, Ziyech would probably be a better back up for Ozil then an out and out winger.

Despite the doubts, Arsenal would be better off investing in Ziyech at £25million then Zaha at £70million.

Steven Bergwijn

Staying in Holland, 21-year-old Steven Bergwijn is an exciting young talent.

Last season Justin Kluivert got all the accolades and the big money transfer to Roman. Many at the time felt that his PSV team mate Bergwijn was the better player.

Bergwijn reportedly has a release clause of only €20 million (£17.5 million). Sources on this are however vague and Arsenal were linked with his for €35 million a month or so ago.

He is raw and quick, but at 21 he plenty of time to develop.

Leon Bailey

A year ago Leon Bailey was one of the hottest young prospects in football. Aged 20, he hit 12 goals in 34 games leading many to value him northwards of £40million.

12 months on and his star has dimmed slightly.

Scoring just 5 n 38 this season, it feels like he has gone backwards, however it should be remembered that he is still just 21-years-old – 6 years Zaha’s junior.

With electric pace, is he the real deal, a rough diamond that just needs shining like Raheem Sterling, or is he just another in a long line of speedsters who does not have the footballing ability to make it to the top level?

Arsenal would likely be able to sign him for less than the £40million quoted last season. Cheaper, younger and more talented than Zaha.

 

Zaha at £70million would be a ludicrous transfer. Even the reduced price of £40million that Arsenal are reportedly interested at feels heavy.

Instead of signing Zaha, Arsenal should invest in two of the above mentioned.

Go for Julian Brandt firstly. He has the experience and ability to make an instant impact and is a future long term replacement for Mezut Ozil.

Alongside Brandt Arsenal should recruit either Ismaila Sarr or Steven Bergwijn. Both a little rawer, but with pace to burn.

A double swoop on Brandt and either Sarr or Bergwijn would cost the Arsenal between £40-50million.

We would be signing younger alternatives to Zaha, who have the potential to be better than him.

It just makes sense.

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4 Leverkusen stars on Arsenal radar

Last season Arsenal went to Bayer Leverkusen to sign Bernd Leno on what has turned out to be a bargain of a transfer.

This summer Arsenal could do a lot worse than returning to the banks of the river Rhine as they strengthen their squad this summer.

The Bundesliga side have had a tough season, currently off the pace in 6th place having only failed to get Champions League football last season on goal difference. They also had a poor Europa League campaign, suffering as shock exit against Krasnodar in the first knock out stage.

However they have a squad containing some very talented, young players; many of whom are in Joachim Lowe’s current German squad.

There are 4 in particular that Arsenal should target

Kai Havertz

Arsenal have been heavily linked with German teenager Kai Havertz for the majority of the year.

Many in Germany believe Havertz to be the next big thing, following upo on the last two big things Leon Gortezka and Julian Draxler – both of whom have spent much of their career being linked with Arsenal.

He has been earmarked as the long term replacement for Mesut Ozil in the German national team.

A gifted attacking midfielder capable of playing in all 3 positions behind the striker, he has all but one game for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga this year.

A tall, loping figure, he perhaps reminds me more of Michael Ballack than Mesut Ozil – this year he has developed the knack of scoring goals which Ballack did in his early career before moving deeper.

The ambidextrous midfielder can play all across midfield, winning tackles in defence, switching play and launching attacks with his quick eye for movement, coupled with his anticipation and then precision when delivering the final pass. Havertz has been involved in 17 goals in his 27 games in all competitions this season.

Havertz is certainly a star in the making, but it would take big money to attract him to Arsenal. Big money that could only be raised by selling Mesut Ozil.

The feeling if is Ozil stays, it will be impossible to justify spending big on Havertz who will be understudy for 12 months.

Julian Brandt

A few years older than Havertz, a little more experienced and probably cheaper.

With Havertz playing behind the striker, Brandt has found himself playing a deeper role, or on the wing this season.

Brandt reminds me of Santi Cazorla (except about a foot taller).

A versatile player who can play on the wing or down the middle, as well as deeper. He does not have the pace of someone like his team mate Leon Bailey, but he makes up for it with excellent movement and technique.

It was Brandt who kept Leroy Sane out of the German World Cup squad last summer.

Brandt would provide excellent cover for Ozil, as well as give Arsenal a deeper, more attacking option to play alongside Lucas Torreira or Granit Xhaka.

He is perhaps a better replacement for Aaron Ramsey than Mesut Ozil.

Leon Bailey

A year ago Leon Bailey was one of the hottest young prospects in football. Aged 20, he hit 12 goals in 34 games leading many to value him northwards of £40million.

12 months on and his star has dimmed slightly.

Scoring just 4 n 34 this season, it feels like he has gone backwards, however it should be remembered that he is still just 21-years-old.

His rise and fall reminds me a bit of Thomas Lemar, who came into public conscious after scoring 14 in 55 for Monaco, before falling away the next season.

A poor second season did not put Atletico Madrid off, as they spent £52.7 million bringing the Frenchman to La Liga. He has struggled once more this season, making many think he was just a one-season wonder at Monaco.

The story of Lemar is why there are question marks over Bailey.

With electric pace, is he the real deal, a rough diamond that just needs shining like Raheem Sterling, or is he just another in a long line of speedsters who does not have the footballing ability to make it to the top level?

He would be a good signing for Arsenal, and provide us pace and width, but a fee northwards of £30million would be too much.

Would be a huge risk based on one good season a year ago.

Jonathan Tah

So far we have only talked about Bayern Leverkusen’s attacking options, but one player well worth Arsenal looking at is giant central defender Jonathan Tah.

Once billed as the next big defensive talent in Germany, Tah has been overtaken by Niklas Sule and Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger in recent years, but he remains a skilled and strong, if error-prone centre back.

Tah would provide some pace alongside Sokratis tough defensive mind; and at just 23-years-old could become a rock for the future.

He would automatically be helped by playing between German speakers Sokratis and Saed Kolasinac.

Comfortable with the ball at his feet, and capable of bringing the ball out of defence and launching attacks, he could be the perfect long-term replacement for Laurent Koscielny – who incidentally could also be described as “error-prone”.

Top defenders are a race commodity in the current game, and worse players than Tah will go for much bigger transfer fees this summer.

Tah reminds me a younger Virgil van Dijk. Physically imposing but makes errors.

Van Dijk is now 27-years-old. Give it 4 years and Tah will also be a beast of a defender.

Is Leon Bailey Arsenal’s “Big Opportunity”?

Back in February, I singled out Leon Bailey as a player Arsenal should target this summer.

The 20-year-old Jamaican speedster was number one on my list when I discussed in May about what potential wingers Arsenal should target.

Bailey joined Bayer Leverkusen for €20 million in the January of 2017 from Genk in Belgium. A slow first 6 months to his career as he settled into playing at a higher level, the season just gone was a real break through one for him.

He has been in sparkling form for the majority of the Bundesliga season and has scored some spectacular goals to help Leverkusen to fourth place and Champions League contention.

12 goals in 34 games in all competitions, he averaged a goal or assist every 148 minutes in the Bundesliga.

If you created a criteria for what Arsenal need to sign, Bailey would tick every box.

Young, quick, comfortable on the wing but has the technique to play inside. He is certainly one of the best young talents in European football right now.

Out in Singapore, Unai Emery reinforced his comments that Arsenal will still be in the market if a “big opportunity” comes up by saying;

I am very happy with how the club is working and we are working every day on how we can improve. I am with the players and those who have arrived this week, I am very happy with and I said at the last press conference that if there is an opportunity to try to sign one player, then we are looking.

Leon Bailey would be that big opportunity.

The only concern could come down to cost.

Whilst Arsenal still have plenty of money to spend – our incoming transfers have increased our yearly costs by about £30million, the club could get blown out of the water by Chelsea.

Both Eden Hazard and Willian are looking for a way out of Chelsea. One is likely to leave, if not both.

Barcelona have already bid £65m for Willian, and it would not be a surprise to see Hazard go to Real Madrid for £100m+. That will be a big chunk of change burning a whole in their pocket.

A deal for Bailey in the region of £40-£50m, Arsenal would be in the game.

A 5 year contract and wages of around £6m a year would increase club costs by £16m, still within our budget. But if Chelsea decide he is the man to replace Hazard, we could be talking about an £80m transfer fee.

Arsenal might decide that is a little too pricey for a player who has had just 18 months in the Bundesliga.

We could decide to move on Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez to raise additional funds for Bailey. With Perez having spent last year on loan, it would pretty much be two out, one in.

Arsenal could use their German influence to try and encourage Bailey to make it clear to Leverkusen that he wants to join the North London side.

A meeting with Sven Mislintat, a phone call from former Leverkusen goal keeper Bernd Leno, a signed picture of Mesut Ozil.

If Arsenal did sign him up,

Keenos