Arsenals are reportedly leading the chase to sign the highly rated versatile defender Raphael Guerreiro from French club Lorient. The full-back / winger has 12 months left remaining on his current contract with speculation that Arsenal will be able to sign him for a bargain price.
According to reports Arsene Wenger “is having deeper and deeper talks with Lorient” in order to wrap up the deal quickly this summer and bring Guerreiro to the Emirates stadium. They will have to fight off any interest from other clubs with both Liverpool who are looking to rebuild after Klopp took over this season and PSG reported to be interested in singing Guerreiro.
The 22-year-old Portuguese international that has been capped five times, has scored 10 goals in 95 games since joining Lorient from Caen in 2013.
With Guerreiro’s contract running out in 12 months, it is believed any team interested in signing him will be able to get Guerreiro for a massively cut price of just 7.5 million euros which in today’s world is peanuts to the football giants.
It has been reported Arsenal are leading the chase for the full-back and with Kieran Gibbs reportedly leaving Arsenal in the summer it looks very likely a deal may be on this summer.
Guerreiro said in a recent interview with Le Parisien that he has already rejected PSG once in his career, but has admitted he is ready to take the step up and move to a ‘big’ club.
“There was contact between presidents and with my agent last summer, but I let it be known that it wasn’t the choice to be made for me”
“For the good of my career, I felt that it would be worth more to play a full season at Lorient rather than to be a substitute in Paris.
“Even if you always develop when you’re in contact with such good players, I favoured game time.”
With his contract running out, Guerreiro admits he could be more open to a move this summer.
“Maybe I would need a change of scene, to see what other clubs offer me that would allow me to progress,” he said.
Guerreiro who is a versatile full-back / winger looks likely to be the replacement for Gibbs. Both players have played at left back and left midfield for their current clubs with Guerreiro impressing more as he added goals to his game which has helped Lorient. Gibbs scored in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham this season and has only scored two goals in 126 games for Arsenal but it seems Guerreiro is a much more natural left sided winger as well after scoring 10 goals in 95 games which is impressive considering he predominantly plays at the back. Arsenal need a more versatile player in their squad and definitely need to look at signing a winger and or full back this summer. Alexis Sanchez has been reborn on the right-hand side and although Alex Iwobi has down well on the left, I am sure Wenger will want to strengthen that area, Arsenal are very limited on who can play left midfield and Guerreiro certainly fits the bill.
A stat that really impresses me is the number of chances Guerreiro has created for a defender / winger. He has created a very high 0.92 per 90 minutes with Gibbs behind on 0.22. This will impress the Gunners and proves how versatile of a player he really is. Guerreiro is known for his attacking style from the back, Gibbs has won more tackles with 2.00 which is very impressive compared to Guerreiro who scores 1.30 Gibbs is clearly more superior when it comes to defending than attacking. Guerreiro scores 1.95 on successful take ons which is as good as any winger with Gibbs very far behind on 0.44. As good as Guerreiro is being an attacking full back, he does score very high for the amount of interceptions he makes, this proves his mobility, reading play and being able to intercept possession, Gibbs once again just trails on 2.44. In total, Gibbs beats Guerreiro with 17.44 on a total defence score as Guerreiro only scores 10.24, but in the opposite Guerreiro beats Gibbs on total attack score with 13.92 and Gibbs scores 4.65
In summary, Arsenal would be delighted with the signing of Raphael Guerreiro. At just 22 years old he has played many games and also proved himself on the international stage. Arsenal need more depth and will certainly look to rebuild the squad this summer and signing a versatile player who can play many positions is exactly what Arsenal need after being too reliant on key players like Sanchez and Ozil all season. Raphael Guerreiro can give cover and compete with Monreal whilst also playing left midfield where Arsenal seriously lack numbers. There is clear interest from the Gunners but if they are to get their man they’ll have to fight off competition from PSG and Liverpool.