What Arsenal transfer target Emiliano Buendia could bring to the Emirates

04 January 2021 09:15

There's a draught, isn't there?

A yellow and black, Jim White-shaped draught to be precise, as the January transfer window opens amid a blast of winter swap shop rumours.

David Alaba, Dele Alli and Pau Torres are among the high profile players whose futures are being banded about each and every day, but over in north London, ears have pricked up at Arsenal's potential interest in Norwich City midfielder Emiliano Buendia.

The 24-year-old Argentine has shone since the Canaries dropped back down to the Championship, and seven goals and six assists from Buendia have helped Norwich open up a four-point lead at the top of the table.

Buendia is a familiar name from Norwich's 2019/20 Premier League relegation, which may beg the question as to whether or not he's good enough to take to the Emirates Stadium turf each and every week, given he was unable to keep the Canaries up last season.

Hell, Norwich were so under the radar at times last season that you may not even know where Buendia plays or what he does. So to answer that, 90min has done a bit of digging into why he may be an Arsenal transfer target and what he could bring to Mikel Arteta's side.

Where Does Buendia Play?

Buendia is a keen dribbler of the ball | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Buendia signed for Norwich in 2018 after rising through the ranks with Getafe in Spain, and was viewed as the replacement for outgoing playmaker James Maddison, who had just signed for Leicester.

He hasn't always operated in a traditional number 10 role though, and he mainly operates from the right hand side of Daniel Farke's fluid 4-2-3-1 formation. However, the key caveat is that Buendia is licensed to roam around, and pick up pockets of space depending on the phase of play.

In his maiden season, Buendia notched eight goals and contributed 17 assists in all competitions, showing a keen willingness to pick the ball up deep and run at his opposition. Not only that, he picks up intelligent positions in advanced areas - often centrally - which allows teammates around him to cause problems.

How Buendia Has Performed During 2020/21

Simply put, Buendia has been one of the best players in the Championship so far.

The Argentine has piled up seven goals and six assists from 19 games, and is averaging 3.3 key passes alongside a 77.1% pass success rate (via WhoScored.) He also leads the way in the league for chances created with 56, averaging 2.96 created per 90.

You could say he's Norwich's creating equivalent of Mesut Ozil, but probably the less said about him and his salary at Arsenal, the better.

How Much Buendia Would Cost Arsenal

Arsenal are trying to find a way to fund a move for Buendia | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Norwich recruited Buendia for a bargain £1.5m, and is another prime example of untapped potential playing in European football's lesser watched leagues. Getafe were a second division side before you ask, rather than the successful La Liga outfit that they are now.

He does only have one year of top flight experience - Norwich's relegation season - but his high level of performance again this season shows that he's probably too good for the second tier, and simply needs to be playing in a team with more capable players once he steps up.

£20m is a figure that has done the rounds before, leading to speculation that Arsenal are considering a player-plus-cash deal to lower the fee.

How He Would Fit in at Arsenal

Buendia could allow Arteta to more effectively use a 4-2-3-1 | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It's only right to address the elephant in the room and give Arsenal fans some further hope heading into the future.

Despite the emergence of Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal need another quality playmaker to sit behind the striker and while Buendia usually operates from the right, there's no reason why he couldn't perform effectively in the number 10 role should Mikel Arteta use a 4-2-3-1 more often.

Buendia's flair may also help to evolve the abilities of Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli among others, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette would surely be beneficiaries of his ability to pick a pass.

Where he might struggle, however, is deeper in midfield, and there would be no benefit to bringing him in if Arteta is wanting to recruit somebody to provide competition for Dani Ceballos and co.

Source: 90min