There is a draft, isn’t there?
A yellow and black draft in the form of Jim White to be precise, as the January transfer window opens amid an explosion of winter swap store rumors.
David Alaba, Dele Alli and Pau Torres are among the top players whose futures are guided every day, but in north London ears have been drawn to Arsenal’s potential interest in the midfielder of Norwich City, Emiliano Buendia.
The 24-year-old Argentinian has shone since the Canaries came back down to the league, and Buendia’s seven goals and six assists helped Norwich open a four-point lead at the top of the table.
Buendia is a household name in Norwich’s relegation to the 2019/20 Premier League, which may raise questions as to whether or not he is good enough to make it to the grass at the Emirates Stadium every week, given that ‘he couldn’t keep the Canaries last season. .
Hell, Norwich was so under the radar last season that you might not even know where Buendia is playing or what he’s doing. So to answer that, 90 mins looked a bit at why he could be an Arsenal transfer target and what he could bring alongside Mikel Arteta.
Buendia signed for Norwich in 2018 after rising through the ranks with Getafe in Spain and was seen as a replacement for outgoing playmaker James Maddison, who had just signed for Leicester.
He hasn’t always played in a traditional number 10 role, however, and he operates primarily on the right side of Daniel Farke’s fluid 4-2-3-1 formation. However, the main caveat is that Buendia is allowed to move and collect pockets of space depending on the phase of play.
In his debut season, Buendia scored eight goals and contributed 17 assists across all competitions, showing a keen will to pick up the ball deep and run against his opponent. Not only that, he takes intelligent positions in advanced areas – often centrally – which allows his teammates around him to cause trouble.
Put simply, Buendia has been one of the best players in the league so far.
The Argentinian has racked up seven goals and six assists in 19 games, and averages 3.3 key passes with a 77.1% success rate (via WhoScored.) He also leads the league in odds. created with 56, with an average of 2.96 created by 90.
You could say he creates the equivalent of Norwich’s Mesut Ozil, but there is probably less talk about him and his salary at Arsenal the better.
Norwich signed Buendia for a bargain of £ 1.5million, and is another prime example of the untapped potential of playing in European football’s less watched leagues. Getafe were a second division team before you ask, rather than the successful La Liga formation they are now.
He only has one year of top-flight experience – Norwich’s relegation season – but his high level of performance again this season shows he’s probably too good for second tier, and that he simply has need to play in a team with more competent players once he steps up.
£ 20million is a figure that has been around in the past, suggesting that Arsenal are considering a more cash player deal to cut fees.
It’s right to address the elephant in the room and give Arsenal fans some extra hope for the future.
Despite the emergence of Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal need another quality playmaker to sit behind the striker and although Buendia usually operates from the right, there is no reason why he cannot play effectively in the number 10 role if Mikel Arteta uses a 4-2. -3-1 more often.
Buendia’s flair can also help evolve the abilities of Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli among others, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette would surely benefit from his ability to pick a pass.
Where he might struggle, however, is deeper in midfield, and there would be no advantage in bringing him in if Arteta wanted to recruit someone to provide competition for Dani Ceballos and his colleagues.