After flirting with Germany, Arsenal has returned to Spain. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were born from that affair. Barcelona’s Denis Suarez, however, rekindles the La Liga union which had produced the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
The Gunners are reportedly close to bringing the Spaniard to the Emirates for around £20 million. Suarez travelled with his teammates to face Getafe on Sunday but was later scratched from the team sheet prior to the game. That pretty sums up the 25-year-old’s last five years in Camp Nou.
Suarez was heralded as the next big thing when he moved from Manchester City in 2013. He barely got the chance to prove his worth. After a season with the B team, the 25-year-old was loaned to Sevilla for two seasons.
Ivan Rakitic moved the other way. Under Unai Emery, Suarez got consistent minutes. He featured 47 times for an immensely successful Sevilla side who went on to win their second successive Europa League title.
The following term he joined Villareal permanently and then a swift return to Barca afterwards for a second stint. Although he began strongly, the Catalonia ghosts retreated yet again. In two-and-a-half years, Suarez managed 46 league appearances.
What will he bring to Arsenal?
Versatility is the first thing that comes to mind. The technically gifted player can be deployed in a wide range of positions: central midfield, left midfield, right midfield, attacking midfield, and both positions out on the flanks.
With Aaron Ramsey departing next summer, such qualities will be crucial. Suarez is a proactive live wire and defences must be on red alert when the ball is at his feet. He has the poise and grace of a typical Spanish attacking midfielder.
Dribbling and close control are Suarez’s top attributes. Though he does have a tendency to hold on to the ball for too long at times, the midfielder is very good both 1v1 and in space. Decision making would have to improve as well, but consistent time on the pitch would surely help.
He is composed, possesses a velcro touch, and passes the ball around as freely as a joint at Woodstock. He rarely looks perturbed in possession and his nimble footwork can take him through hordes of opponents with the ball never straying from his foot.
His reunion with Emery could ultimately be the catalyst to turn things around for the Gunners.
Written by Toby Prince
Follow Toby on Twitter @prinzToby
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