Why £15 million for Odsonne Edouard would be a fantastic transfer
Yesterday, we heard the news that long-term Arsenal target Odsonne Edouard would be available in the summer for a measly £15 million. The Frenchman has been plying his trade for Celtic for the last few years and has often been linked with a move to the Emirates. However, until recently we had always been quoted north of £30 million for the striker.
Admittedly, for £30 million I was never quite sold. I think at that price it would be safer to spend the money on someone with proven Premier League experience. However, for just £15 million this is an opportunity that Arsenal simply cannot afford to miss.
There are two main concerns amongst the Arsenal faithful. The two questions you have to ask before signing any player. Firstly, you must look at your current squad and ask whether we actually need him. Secondly, you have to ask is he good enough. Well, by the end of this article I will hopefully have convinced you that we need him AND he is good enough.
Firstly, do we need him? I have seen many Arsenal fans talking about how many strikers we have at the club, but we have to also ask how many of these players are good enough? Aubameyang and Lacazette are fantastic players on their day and have had a number of good years for Arsenal. But Aubameyang will be 32 at the end of the season, and Lacazette will only have a year left on his contract. I for one have not heard any updates on our efforts to tie down Lacazette, and I actually think this is for the best. Right now, we have to start building for the future. To me, that means that Lacazette, despite his good performances recently, should be moved on in the summer for some kind of fee. Arsenal have been so naive over the years in letting players leave for free. I think realistically in the summer a club would still pay around £15 million for Lacazette, which means we can directly replace him with Odsonne Edouard at no great cost to us. The situation with Aubameyang depends on how he performs for the rest of the season and what offers come in for him. I don’t think at his age we are going to find many suitors willing to pay what he is truly worth.
I have seen a number of fans saying that Balogun, Nketiah and Martinelli are all at the club and will need game time. This is true, and I agree every effort should be made to keep them at the club. However, ultimately I don’t think any of these players is ready yet to be relied upon as our starting-striker. Martinelli clearly has an amazing raw talent and is good enough to play occasionally. Balogun I believe would benefit from a season playing more regularly for the first team i.e. in european and cup fixtures. Meanwhile, Nketiah is at the stage of his career where he needs game time to get to that next level. More game time than the occasional cup game or substitute appearance. As such, I would be looking for a club to loan Nketiah out to for next season and I’m sure there would be many Premier League suitors. During a financial crisis, for a player to be available on loan that might just get enough goals to keep a team in the league – that is going to be very desirable for many teams.
So is Odsonne Edouard good enough? I would argue yes. Since joining Celtic, the Frenchman has 68 goals and 16 assists in 116 games. This is not by any means a world class goal record, but considering Celtic are not exactly blessed with much creative talent I would say that this is a respectable return. There is of course the argument that you have to take this record with a pinch of salt, as it was carried out in Scotland. Whilst I agree to a certain extent, the one thing you can say about the SPL is that it has similar physical demands to that of the EPL. He has proven time and again that he can deal with those demands. I think if we put him in a team that will be able to create space and chances in abundance, he will become a prolific goal scorer in England too.
You have to see the types of goals he scores. From what I’ve seen, he scores almost every kind of goal. He is an accomplished penalty and free kick taker, he is able to play on the shoulder running in behind, he is able to play with his back to goal and turn and shoot. Anybody who can score such a variety of goals is a player who, in the right system, can score goals anywhere.
Stylistically, he is actually very similar to somebody like Ollie Watkins at Aston Villa. He will run the channels all game long, but can also drop into the false 9 role to pick the ball up, and bring other players into an attack extremely well. His awareness of where his teammates are like that is brilliant and very similar to how Lacazette does it.
Overall, I’m not saying he will start scoring 30 goals a season right off the bat, but at just 23 years old and only £15 million, he would be a brilliant signing, both for the here and now and for our future.
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