Arsenal Transfer News: Scouts Watch Goncalo Guedes, Adrien Rabiot Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2016

Besiktas' Gokhan Inler, left, tries to stop Benfica's Goncalo Guedes during the Champions League group B soccer match between Benfica and Besiktas at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Armando Franca/Associated Press

Arsenal were among a long list of clubs on a scouting trip for the UEFA Champions League match between Benfica and Besiktas on Tuesday, where they watched summer target Goncalo Guedes as well as other players.

As shared by Portuguese football expert Tom Kundert, the Gunners joined Premier League giants Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United in Lisbon, taking in the 1-1 draw between Benfica and the Turkish champions:

Tom Kundert @PortuGoal1

ICYMI, official list of clubs who sent scouts to Benfica-Besiktas. EPL big boys in Lisbon #AFC #CFC #LFC #MCFC #MUFC https://t.co/HpjCORXhD0

Per Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror, there were a number of prospects who flashed their talent during the match, including Victor Lindelof and Anderson Talisca. The most intriguing name on the list is teenage forward sensation Guedes, however.

O Jogo (h/t Metro's Mark Brus) previously reported Arsenal and Benfica discussed a transfer of the 19-year-old during the summer, with the Gunners watching Guedes during pre-season. The move never materialised, and Wenger addressed his attacking depth by signing Lucas Perez.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

Guedes remains one of Portugal's top prospects, however, and he's expected to move to a bigger club in the near future if he continues his rapid rise. The Benfica youth product made his debut in 2014 and quickly drew comparisons to compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo for his raw athleticism and dribbling ability out wide.

Benfica used him in a central role against Besiktas, but his tools are better suited for a spot on the wing. Here's a look at some of his highlights:

Like Ronaldo, Guedes loves to cut inside and use his athleticism to run defenders into the ground, creating space for himself and his team-mates. While his finishing could still use some work, he has a tremendous foundation to work from, and he's still growing as a player.

At Benfica, he has ceded the spotlight to star striker Jonas, and the latter's tremendous form in 2015-16 took away a lot of scoring chances for his team-mates. Nico Gaitan's departure for Atletico Madrid means Guedes is now in charge of the creative impulses, however, so he could be in line for a major season.

AVEIRO, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 7: SL Benfica's defender from Spain Alex Grimaldo (L) with SC Braga's Portuguese midfielder Pedro Tiba (R) in action during the Super Cup match between SL Benfica and SC Braga at Estadio Municipal de Aveiro on August 7, 2016 in A
Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Versatile defender Lindelof is another player to keep an eye on, although the Gunners likely won't be looking at central defensive reinforcements after Shkodran Mustafi's move. Former Barcelona star Alex Grimaldo has made a great start to his Benfica career, and the left-back could become a wanted man very soon.

As shared by Scouted Football, the 20-year-old made headlines for the wrong reasons on Tuesday:

Meanwhile, Le Parisien (h/t Daily Star's Jamie Styles) reported Wenger turned down the opportunity to sign French midfield talent Adrien Rabiot from Paris Saint-Germain back in 2014, because his good friend and PSG president Nasser Al-Khelafi asked him not to.

Per the report, Rabiot's entourage had already informed the Gunners they were open to a move, but Wenger withdrew his offer because Al-Khelafi didn't want to lose his star youngster.

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 13: Adrien Rabiot of PSG in action during the UEFA Champions League group phase match between Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal FC at Parc des Princes on September 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

At the time, Rabiot's entourage and PSG waged war in the media, with his mother Veronique taking several shots at the club and openly requesting a transfer, per Goal's Robin Bairner. A split seemed inevitable, and Arsenal, Juventus and Roma were all linked, per the report.

Somehow, the Frenchman stayed with PSG, and the two parties settled their differences. The 21-year-old is now a regular starter for Les Parisiens, and he played 74 minutes against the Gunners on Tuesday.

Here's a look at some of his highlights:

Rabiot's main issue with PSG was playing time, and he likely wouldn't have featured much more for Arsenal back in 2014. The youngster was clearly talented, but he was also very raw and prone to making mistakes.

Per Jack Austin of The Independent, Rabiot recently opened the door to a Premier League move, telling Telefoot how he enjoyed England during his time in the Manchester City academy and how he's determined to return to the Premier League one day.


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