If Not Raphinha, Then Who? (005)

It wouldn’t be a transfer window without our beloved club giving us some textbook drama. Year
after year, Arsenal seemingly chase players who never had any intention to come to North London.
Back in the day, it was Benzema, Higuain, and M’Vila in more recent years it’s been Draxler (shudders), Aouar, Vlahovic and now Raphinha.

As of writing this article, Raphinha is all but certain to join Barcelona. It’s said that the Brazilian’s Dad is good friends with Ronaldinho and has always dreamed of seeing his son at the Camp Nou. So much so, that Raphinha is willing to reject advances from any other side, regardless of wage packet, to secure this move. Alas, this scenario has left us winger-less, but not hopeless. The window is still young and there are around two months left of time for Edu to pull off a “madness.” Let’s have a look at who we could get as a wide forward instead.
Here are three alternatives for Raphinha.

#3 Pedro Neto

Pedro Neto has 3 caps for Portugal

The forgotten wonderkid?

Last season, Pedro Neto only made 13 appearances for Wolves after spending the first half of the campaign out with a severe knee injury. In essence, he’s lost a season of development but at just 22 years of age, Neto is still one of the brightest prospects on the market. But he is just that, just a prospect, a talented one, but still just a prospect. To date, his best goalscoring campaign is just 6 goals, a tally that would hardly move the needle for an Arsenal side chasing Champions League football.   

Having just signed a death row contract, Pedro Neto would cost upwards of £55m, making him another potential sizeable investment for Stan Kroenke. If the Gunners were willing to spend £65m on Raphinha, would they be willing to do the same for Neto? We’ll soon find out.

#2 Moussa Diaby

Diaby averaged 1.9 key passes and 1.8 dribbles per game last season

Perhaps the most expensive option on this list, Moussa Diaby has announced himself to the world in recent seasons. Last season, the Frenchman finished the league campaign with 13 goals and 12 assists in 32 games, averaging a goal contribution every 111 minutes.

How would he fit in at Arsenal? Well, it’s clear Mikel Arteta has added versatility as a criterion for recruitment this summer. He’s looking for players that can be competent across a number of positions & roles. 

On the face of it, Diaby is a pacey winger with buckets of raw potential but he’s more than that. He’s well suited to either flank and consistently loves to carry the ball up the pitch and run at defenders but in other scenarios, he likes to get in behind full-backs. It’s this variety to his game that would make him a valuable asset to Arteta’s Arsenal. 

It’s rumoured that the 22-year-old would cost no less than £60million. 

#1 Serge Gnabry

Serge Gnabry has won 12 trophies with Bayern Munich

Unfinished business? I think so. 

They say destiny waits for no man and I truly believe now is the time for Serge Gnabry to come back home. With one year left on his contract and the player feeling unloved in Munich, where better to go than home? 

When he left North London in 2016, most people, including Arsene Wenger himself, knew we were losing a gem. Several sparkling cameos showed us all that he had the potential to excel under the bright lights. 

Since leaving Arsenal, the German has produced 10 goals or more every season. Throughout his time at Bayern, the 27-year-old has directly contributed to 104 goals in 171 appearances. Not only has his output been world-class, but his improvements in technical security, creativity and decision-making have made him the complete package. 

Unlike the other two candidates, Gnabry is the finished article that wouldn’t need much refining. However, the minimal assimilation time would come at a cost, as the Gunners would have to break their wage structure for the homecoming of a century. 

He left as a kid and would return as one of the best wingers in world football. Your move, Arsenal. 

Written by: Arsenal Presser @APresserV2

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