In the biggest transfer story of January, we must all know by now that Alexis Sánchez will not be an Arsenal player come February the 1st. Arsène Wenger and the Gunners fan base have become resigned to the fact that the Chilean winger doesn’t want to play for them and they’ve begun to plan for life after 29-year-old.
According to multiple reports, Arsenal has listed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan & Malcolm as transfer targets. Out of those three targets, Malcom Silva de Oliveira has been cited as the most viable replacement for the South American superstar. So, let’s analyse the 20-year-old’s viability as a suitable replacement.
Can Malcolm replace Alexis Sánchez in the long-term?
Who is Malcom?
Can you believe that this is the same kid that was offered to clubs around Europe in the 2016 summer window? Now he’s set to be subject of a major bidding war between North London’s two most prominent clubs.
For those who don’t know, Malcom is a 20-year-old Brazilian winger who plays for Bordeaux. He started his career at Corinthians in Brazil, where played 74 games before moving to Ligue 1 club Bordeaux. The youngster is also a Brazilian international, making 17 appearances for his country at U20 and U23 level. Although young, Malcolm is a fan favourite at Bordeaux and widely considered a key talisman in the team.
This season, Malcom is experiencing his most fruitful campaign yet. In 19 league appearances, Alexis Sánchez’s future replacement has scored 7 goals and provided 5 assists. He’s scored the same amount goals as the Chilean while providing more assists. Malcom has performed all these exploits from the right wing
What does he play like?
His tendency to cut in from the right have called for many to liken him to a young Arjen Robben. His alarming pace and willingness to take on players have made him a frightful proposition to defend against. The Brazilian is a technically gifted winger that loves to have the ball at his feet, rather than running onto it.
He possesses many audacious skills in his locker room, but he doesn’t allow that to deter him from being focused and productive. Malcom links up well with his teammates as he’s always seeking to bring others into the game and when he can’t, he goes for goal himself, usually resulting in a goal. His close ball control allows him to wriggle out of tight spaces in the final third, a trait that Arsène Wenger would genuinely appreciate.
Malcom offers the electricity of Sánchez, the skilfulness of the Chilean and the direct dribbling style of the 29-year-old. Off the ball, Malcom is diligent in his tracking and relentless in his pressing. What’s there not to love about the South American sensation?
A deal worth just over £45million could be enough to send the 20-year-old to North London. Malcolm is not only a short-term fix for the Alexis Sánchez saga, but he’s also a long-term replacement that will outdo the exploits of the Chilean at the Emirates.