The summer transfer window is beckoning upon us, and several teams are waiting to improve their current squads and challenge for the biggest trophies. Arsenal, who had a less than average 2020/21 season, need a lot of repairing in the midfield area, given that their main criticism was their lack of creativity throughout the season. This has led to the club prioritising the transfer of Emiliano Buendia – the attacking midfielder who was sensational for Norwich City in the Championship this season. However, Arsenal are not stopping with Buendia, as the Gunners are now also targeting Houssem Aouar, who has been on Arsenal’s transfer list for the last two years.
Is Houssem Aouar the right man for Arsenal?
Any team, let alone Arsenal needs the man behind the frontline who can create as well as press the ball effectively. You need somebody who can float ahead of the two central midfielders and provide the needle of an eye through ball to the forward and somebody who can unlock a defence and be two steps ahead of the opposition at all times.
They need a game-changer. Houssem Aouar suits this profile better than any other midfielder in Europe. While there are far and few midfielders who will be cheap, Aouar solves more than one problem for Arsenal. One of the main concerns, when Arteta joined the club, was an aging squad and the lack of dynamism at the heart of midfield. Aouar, who is a delight on the ball, can bring about creativity as well as dynamism due to his excellent positioning.
Finding spaces in dangerous areas; putting timely through balls; quick passes in tight areas – Houssem Aouar, at only 22, is a world-beater of a playmaker. The midfielder has managed 2 key passes a game in the past two seasons, a statistic that will only increase in a better side. However, Aouar’s key ability is dribbling past opponents with relative ease and composure. He does not try too hard, nor does he try fancy things. He finds spaces, dribbles past opponents, passes the ball, and keeps a steady flow of the game.
Moreover, unlike most Arsenal midfielders, Aouar has mastered the art of ball retention and progression. While his goal-scoring numbers might not be as great as last season, consistency from a 22-year-old in an inconsistent side is a hard ask. Aouar can provide just the right balance to Arsenal’s midfield while also develop into a superstar due to his young age.
Forming Arsenal’s creative hub with Emiliano Buendia:
Emiliano Buendia, who has been linked with Arsenal in the last month, could form a dream partnership with Houssem Aouar, should both the attacking midfielders join the club this summer.
While Buendia is an excellent progressor of the ball, Aouar excels in finding spaces and creating chances for the side. While both of them can do the other facets of the game just as well, their key features will help them complement each other perfectly. Arsenal’s 4-3-3 and 4-3-2-1 formations suit both the midfielders brilliantly. While Thomas Partey and the back four provide enough cover in defence, Arsenal need players who can unlock a defence.
While there are also no shortages of goal-scorers at the club, a playmaker is what Arsenal needs, perhaps even two of them. Teams like Manchester City and Liverpool have often used two playmakers in midfield to facilitate their frontmen while also provide a potent threat themselves. Buendia’s understanding of the game coupled with Aouar’s positioning bodes well for the way Mikel Arteta wants his side to play.
Moreover, Buendia can play on either side, while he has also functioned as a right-winger this season. Aouar’s main talents are on the left, while he likes to cut inside to create chances or take shots. The two can also interchange positions while also function as attacking midfielder or even creative wingers. Their movement and trickery on the ball help distract the attention from the striker while there is also the bonus of relentless chances in the final third. Unlocking that area on the pitch has not come easy for the Gunners, however, with Buendia’s probing balls into the final third coupled with Aouar’s creative instincts, Arsenal would be grateful to have the two-run their midfield next season.
What is the current situation with Houssem Aouar?
Houssem Aouar’s current contract expires on June 2023 which has led to his price tag being halved from last season. While Lyon wanted £54 million for the Frenchman last season, according to L’Equipe, Aouar could be available for £27-30 million this summer. This is a price that could certainly motivate Arsenal to secure the services of the Frenchman this summer.
Arsenal needs to build the club from below while there is also quite a bit of tinkering to be done in the squad. Emiliano Buendia and Houssem Aouar will provide several solutions in the attack next season, but they must secure these deals as soon as possible.