Why Arsenal are interested in Norwich star Emi Buendia
Arsenal are keen on signing Norwich star Emi Buendia this month for a fee in the region of £20-25m.
Despite the recent involvement of academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe, manager Mikel Arteta is hoping to address his team’s lack of creativity in the transfer market, with Mesut Ozil shown the exit door.
Buendia’s fit at Arsenal
The Argentine created 3.1 chances per 90 minutes and registered seven assists in the Premier League last season, along with a key pass rate of 3.3 per 90 minutes, only behind Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
As for his position, Buendia typically likes to drift in from the right side, allowing the full-back to push on and cross the ball if necessary. Otherwise, Buendia will find pockets of space in front of the opposition’s back line, making it a tough ask to mark him due to his fluid style.
However, with the emergence of Bukayo Saka on the right wing in recent weeks, Buendia may be brought in to play the number ’10’ role in a 4-2-3-1 formation which would allow more touches of the ball. Surrounded by the pace of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Saka and in-form Alexandre Lacazette, Buendia could play killer passes into the front three more frequently and with greater threat from central areas.
Although, Mikel Arteta has expressed his desire to play a 4-3-3, once he has the right personnel. This could see an attacking line-up with Buendia and Smith Rowe as ‘free 8’s’ either side of a defensive anchor such as Thomas Partey. In this instance, Buendia could alternate with Smith Rowe in dropping deep to receive the ball or pushing on into the attacking third.
Out of possession, Buendia’s aggression can lead to both yellow and red cards on occasion, but this bite is not always a negative. Buendia plays on the edge which, outside of full-back Kieran Tierney, is largely missing from the current Arsenal squad.
In addition, the Argentine can also be effective when engaging in the counter press. Buendia uses his speed to close down and force mistakes out of the opponent, both lifting the crowd and giving energy to his teammates. Buendia has an excellent work rate and appears to give everything to regain possession.
Norwich manager Daniel Farke remains confident of keeping his star man as his team bid to gain automatic promotion to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
“Emi is a key player for us, an important member of the group, and he is totally committed to us,” Farke said.