Arsenal are preparing to launch a bid for Real Betis’ Nabil Fekir in the summer transfer window, according to recent reports.
Gunners fans will be well aware this isn’t the first time they’ve been linked with a move for the Frenchman who joined the Spanish outfit from Lyon in the summer of 2019 in a deal worth up to €30m.
His displays this season have been described by Mundo Deportivo, the outlet reporting Arsenal’s interest, as ‘remarkable’. The attacking midfield position at the Emirates Stadium is one that has been the subject of much discussion recently.
Mikel Arteta’s side currently have Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid. The Norwegian has impressed and while it seems the Gunners wish to make the deal permanent in the summer, Los Blancos are not as keen on the idea.
With Fekir once again being linked with a switch to the Premier League, we’re taking a look at which player Arsenal’s recruitment team should be prioritising this summer.
Real Madrid have reportedly decided they wish for Odegaard to return at the end of the season. However, there is also a feeling that the right offer, something in the region of £40-50m, might see them agree to part ways with the Norway captain.
The idea of a second loan deal with an obligation to buy has also been mentioned and that would allow the Gunners more time to get the funds together. But there are question marks over whether this would suit Madrid.
Fekir is likely to be cheaper given the financial impact the pandemic has had on Real Betis and the fact he is some five years older than Odegaard. If Arsenal fail to qualify for Europe next season and are working on the shoestring budget that it’s believe they might have, Fekir may feel more obtainable.
Real Betis are said to be bracing themselves for a number of offers for their 27-year-old playmaker, who was close to joining Liverpool not so long ago, and are perhaps resigned to the fact they may have to sell.
Both players are similar in the sense they prefer to operate from a central area but have the capability of playing wide. Both are left-footed and so, in terms of their profiles, there isn’t much to seperate them.
However, Odegaard has been in London since January and has already adapted to life in the Premier League and Arteta’s playing style, whereas Fekir would need to adjust having only ever played the game in France and Spain.
The fact the Gunners have already seen first-hand what the Norwegian is capable of and know he fits in well inside the dressing room surely makes him the safer option of the two.
Fekir came very close to joining Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Liverpool in a deal that was said to be worth in the region of £53m back in 2018, but the transfer fell through at the last minute.
It’s said the move collapsed due to an issue that came to light with regards to the player’s knee during a medical. The Frenchman suffered a cruciate ligament injury a few seasons earlier but denied there was a problem, and claims the Reds were looking for a way out of the deal.
This issue didn’t stop Real Betis signing the player but they paid a much lower fee than Liverpool had planned to.
While Odegaard has had his fair share of short-term injuries during his career, he hasn’t suffered anything as serious as a cruciate ligament injury, and the Gunners have been impressed by the speed with which he got himself fit having arrived in London despite a lack of game-time.
Taking everything into account, Arsenal should be prioritising the permanent capture of Odegaard over Fekir.
Five years his junior, the Real Madrid loanee has a higher ceiling as well as having already proven himself to be a good fit at the Emirates Stadium.
Fekir feels like a good alternative but only if the Gunners have tried their best to capture Odegaard and a deal is completely off of the table. In the eyes of many Arsenal fans, the signing of Odegaard should be the club’s number one priority in the upcoming window – that’s how impressive he’s been so far.
He has repeatedly spoken of how well he has settled and how at home he feels – it seems there is an appetite on his part to sign permanently, and so only Real Madrid stand in Arsenal’s way.