Transfer Rumour Review: Canales, Downing, Sow, Álvarez
Welcome to RedDetective’s latest edition of his Gooner Talk Transfer Rumour Review column.
The weekly feature promises to look at a handful of players linked with Arsenal in the past seven days, giving you the chance to have your say on which star you would like to see in a Gunners shirt.
Feel free to leave your transfer rumour views in the comments section below.
Sergio Canales (20, Attacking Midfielder/Forward, Real Madrid):
Sergio Canales Madrazo’s career began with a bang. A young Spaniard burst onto the scene at Racing Santander with technical skill and boyish good looks. When he scored two goals for Santander against Sevilla, he thought of Pienarr’s goal against Arsenal earlier that same day, such is his calmness. Marca writer Roberto Palomar said Canales’ trademark was his overall composure, as he ‘plays as if he was in the hallway of his house’.
Real swooped on him for around €6m and fast forward to this season, with just ten games in the La Liga this season and no goals. Now it transpires that Villarreal are leading the chase for him. The fact that he will probably end up being transferred to a new Spanish club (not Arsenal) is better for him at his age, but there is no way that Real should let Canales go given his huge potential. It sums everything up that is wrong about the club that they would lose a potential star of just 20 years old after one season of barely playing him. In conclusion, I do not see this deal happening for Arsenal at all and as a luxury, lightweight flair player I would imagine he does not figure terribly on any target list of Wenger’s. If we were searching for a player of this ilk, I would consider Ajax and Denmark’s Christian Eriksen a preferable option.
Stewart Downing (26, Winger, Aston Villa):
I have got mixed feelings on Downing. The positive side of me says ‘here is a player that would offer the natural left footed width that would stretch teams across the park and make more room for the genius’ in the middle.’ That same part of me notices that Downing has not got a bad goal return this season for a player that hugs the touchline much of the time at Villa in an average side (just shy of double figues). Downing’s crosses are pin point accurate much of the time and Chamakh (our best forward in the air) would enjoy his service. I can also see him taking good corner’s (though Wenger needs to find someone to score from them first). I would not envisage this is a signing that would set the Champions League on fire but against the lesser Premier league teams who camp deep in their half, he would stretch their midfield across the park.
The negative side of me says that Downing would never have the reputation and profile he does if we was not a ‘leftie’ and instead was right footed. Also, I think Kieran Gibbs is wasted at left back and looks to have the build, mentality, pace, skill and instincts of a typical left winger. I would rather Gibbs was given the chance to fulfil any opportunity to play the left wing role before trying to sign Downing.
Moussa Sow (25, Forward, Lille):
The Senegalese striker has scored 22 goals in 37 games this year and got a Ligue 1 winner’s medal. Good for him. Now he is due a pay rise and potentially a big transfer to a new team. Lille signed him last year on a free transfer, and it must be said that Lille must have phenomenal scouts. When 7 games were still to be played in the league, he had already got 21. No player had got to such a number as fast as that since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991/92. Like most Senegalese, he has a good physique and combines pace with power. I have doubts however, in his 112 games prior to this year he scored just 30 goals. Yes, players can blossom; yes, players can emerge late (as Ian Wright did) – but such players are few.
One season wonders in their mid 20’s are less rare. I am not proposing Sow should be in either category at this stage, rather I merely feel Arsenal should be searching for a more consistent and natural goal scorer of international class. Sow still strikes me as lacking the grace and finesse to gel in the Arsenal system. As I said last week, few would argue with Karim Benzema being signed. That said, when I was asked last week on Twitter (follow me – @Detective82) who I thought would finally end up at Arsenal, I did think of Sow. He might not be the completely finished article, but Wenger loves a development project.
Ricardo Gabriel Álvarez (22, Attacking Midfield, Velez Sarsfield):
Nicknamed “Ricky Álvarez” is a left footed attacking midfield player. He strikes me as having a style somewhere between Real Madrid’s Kaka and former Arsenal player Edu. He is tall, easy to watch, intelligent and a quick thinker. He looks to me to be not the finished product and, whilst he has a familar fluid style that would bed in well at Arsenal, he plays like Van Persie did in the early days. What I mean by that is he makes dribbles purely for dribbles sake, and is not a wholly efficient player at the moment that, given time, could hurt the opposition far more.
As Tor-Kristian Karlsen wrote on the topic, he appears too undeveloped to make it at Arsenal for a 22 year old. If he was 18, I would say we were getting a gem. I hope this turns out better than it looks but I have to ask why has he a played just 36 games since 2008? I know a serious knee cruciate ligament injury played a part but that seems very low. That said, if he comes in to replace Denilson or Diaby then I am willing to be patient. Very few players, however, can step off the plane into Heathrow from Argentina and be ready a month later to play against the likes of Stoke and Blackburn. One thing that is clear right now, is that the present and future of world football is in South America. The talent coming off the conveyor belt there currently is unbelievable.
For all Arsenal chat, transfer news as soon as I get it and general discussion on the club, then follow @Detective82.