Arsenal fans have heard it all before in this close season, but it finally looks as though the Gunners are going to wrap up their first major signing of the summer. According to Jeremy Wilson in The Telegraph, the Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo is close to completing a £14 million move to The Emirates, with Arsene Wenger hopeful of wrapping up the deal before Saturday’s season opener against Aston Villa.
Gustavo has expressed his excitement when questioned about a possible move to London, as he told Jack De Menezes in The Independant:
I have heard about the Arsenal interest. It's a big club we're talking about here so of course I'd like to play for them.
Arsenal play an attractive brand of football and are in the Champions League. They also have a very clever manager in Arsene Wenger.
It is a brand of football that suggests, that should Arsenal cross the T’s and dot the I’s on a deal, Gustavo would help improve what is already a strong looking Gunners' midfield.
The fact that Bayern Munich are apparently happy to see Gustavo move on is no slant on the players ability, rather a nod towards Gustavo’s ambition to play regular first team football and the remarkable squad they currently have at their disposal. Capable of filling in at centre-back and left-back, Gustavo is at his best operating on the left-side of a defensive midfield duo.
He has all the qualities at hand to make it in the Premier League. Gustavo is a real enforcer. As comfortable at sniffing out danger with an interception as he is going into a physical contest to regain possession. The Brazilian has in spades all the attributes which were severely lacking in Arsenal’s midfield last season.
And he is no slouch in possession either. Once he wins the ball back, which the Brazilian so often does, he is capable of recycling the play and starting attacks for his team. According to Squawka, he completed 93% of his passes in the Bundesliga, the highest of any Bayern player.
He will give Arsene Wenger options too. Having sent Arsenal out in a 4-2-3-1 system last year, Gustavo should fill the left of the two pivot positions alongside fellow pass-master Mikel Arteta. Their ability to keep the ball will help Gunners maintain a stranglehold on the vast majority of their games. Aaron Ramsey, a player who impressed with his tireless running and box-to-box forays towards the tail-end of last season, will provide ample competition in that area of the pitch.
The extra presence Gustavo offers will also be to the benefit of some of the teams more creative players. Jack Wilshere, for example, will be able to operate in a much more advanced role, having regularly plied his trade in the slot Gustavo looks set to fill. The England international has impressed in that position, but would be an even more fearsome proposition let off the leash in a much more offensive role.
The signing of Gustavo will give Wenger that option.
Santi Cazorla too should reap the benefits. He will line-up from the left, but drifts inside regularly to influence the game in-between the lines. When he does so, and if Arsenal lose the ball, Gustavo is more than capable of shifting to his left to help block off that space.
It is a signing that makes sense on every level. Gustavo’s physicality, industry and quality on the ball should see him hit the ground running in the Premier League.