Unai Emery and Sven Mislintat seem to be working at a frightening pace. In contrast to the dithering days of Arsène Wenger, Unai Emery is quickly identifying targets and signing them. The Gunners have already signed four players in; Bernd Leno, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Lucas Torreira.
Now, he has his eyes set on his former midfield prodigy, Éver Banega. Although it’s exciting to see Arsenal active in the transfer market, this is a target they should not be pursuing.
Here’s why Arsenal shouldn’t sign Éver Banega.
Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal teams were always built from the midfield. In the early 2000s he had powerful midfielders, but as time went on, he transitioned to more diminutive and technical midfielders. The latter doesn’t work in the Premier League, so that’s why it’s imperative the Gunners don’t fork out the cash on Éver Banega.
Position: Central Midfielder
Éver Banega has been one of the cornerstones of Sevilla since making his debut in 2014. In that time, the 29-year-old has made 90 appearances for the Spanish side. However, he did move to Inter Milan for one season in 2016. While at Sevilla, he won two Europa Leagues under, you guessed it, Unai Emery. Such is his quality that he’s represented his country at the Olympics, at U20 level and 63 times at senior level.
He started his career in Boca Juniors before moving to Valencia where he made 136 appearances for them in six years. What we can gage is that the Argentinean is a well-travelled footballer that has bundles of experience. He’s a tidy footballer that can play as a DM, CM or attacking midfielder. He excels at;
- Passing: he maintained an 86.8% pass accuracy in 31 La Liga appearances.
- Dribbling: averages 2.8 dribbles a game.
- Creating Chances: created 2.4 chances a game last season.
Don’t get me wrong, Éver Banega is a good player and does strengthen most teams in the Premier League. However, at this time, he’s not the right fit for Arsenal. First of all, the Argentinean is 29 years of age. When Ivan Gazidis hired Emery, he claimed the 46-year-old would embrace attacking football and the breeding of young players, the signing of Éver Banega doesn’t adhere to the latter. Unai Emery has already told Jack Wilshere that he will not have a starting place at the club, so would Éver Banega be an upgrade on Jack? Not sure. Banega doesn’t aid the long-term plans of the club, nor does he improve Arsenal’s midfield options.
The signing of Lucas Torreira means the Gunners now have five midfielders; Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Mohamed Elneny & Ainsley Maitland-Niles fighting for the two spots in Arsenal’s pivot. Éver Banega’s inclusion in the squad wouldn’t better that depth as he’d be surplus to requirements to much younger and mobile players.
The Premier League is a highly physical league, and Banega’s diminutive presence would not turn Arsenal into the contenders they want to be. Banega’s 5’9” frame is just fine for La Liga, but not enough to help Arsenal progress.