Arsenal are ready to challenge Tottenham Hotspur in the pursuit of Villarreal’s Pablo Fornals; it has been claimed.
According to Express, the Gunners are ready to offload Mesut Ozil in the summer in order to fund the move for the Spanish midfielder, who has impressed with his performances in La Liga and the Europa League.
Fornals is likely to leave Villarreal in the summer, with the club flirting with relegation throughout this season. However, Tottenham could provide stiff competition for Arsenal in the pursuit of the Spanish midfielder.
Pablo Fornals: A smart choice by Unai Emery
Arsenal are bracing themselves for a potential overhaul in the summer, especially in the midfield department as star player Aaron Ramsey has already signed a pre-contract with Juventus while Mesut Ozil has been linked with an exit ever since Emery took over.
In addition, Mohamed Elneny has also struggled to make himself a first-team regular, leaving Arsenal a bit shallow in the midfield department for next season. Therefore, Fornals could turn out to be a smart piece of investment for the Gunners.
The 23-year-old is a versatile midfielder, who, aside from his preferred attacking midfield role, can also feature in a wider midfield position. His immaculate control over the ball coupled with excellent vision has been a boon for Villarreal, with the midfielder averaging 1.4 key passes per game this season.
This could be beneficial for Arsenal, who have lacked resources in the wider midfield positions, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling with injuries throughout the course of the campaign.
Fornals can easily be slotted into the wide midfield role, though he’s primarily expected to fill in shoes of the departing Ramsey in the attacking midfield position.
Furthermore, the Spaniard lends better balance to the midfield with his willingness to track back, which, perhaps makes him a better fit at Arsenal when compared to Ozil, whose lack of work-rate has attracted widespread criticism throughout his time at the Emirates despite his impressive attacking returns. Fornals, on the other hand, has won 1.4 tackles per game, which is quite a remarkable number for an attacking midfielder.
His urgency and aggression in midfield should comply well with Arsenal’s high-octane attacking game under Emery while the Spaniard can also drift past defenders at ease, averaging 1.2 dribbles per game this season.
And at the age of 23, Fornals certainly has time on his side and can, therefore, prove to be an excellent long-term investment for the Gunners as they aim to kickstart a new era under Emery next season.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored