Arsenal Reportedly Eye Ever Banega Transfer Amid Aaron Ramsey Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2018

SEVILLE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Ever Banega of Sevilla FC in action during the UEFA Europa League Group J match between Sevilla and Royal Standard de Liege at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on September 20, 2018 in Seville, Spain.  (Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images)
Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Unai Emery reportedly wants to sign Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega as a replacement for Aaron Ramsey.

According to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, the Gunners are preparing for life after Ramsey, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season. Emery worked with Banega during their time together in Andalusia, and the Arsenal boss is said to be interested in bringing him to the Emirates Stadium.

The pursuit of the Argentina international further cements the shift in strategy Arsenal have when it comes to recruitment, as according to Mokbel, they're no longer against signing players towards the end of their peak years.

"Players like Banega, 30, would not have been considered by previous manager Arsene Wenger, who preferred to sign younger players who have a resale value," he said. "But recent signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sokratis and Stephan Lichtsteiner are all close to or over 30 years old."

With that in mind, the club are said to be more geared towards "instant success" instead of focusing on long-term development.

As reported by David Ornstein of BBC Sport, a four-year contract offer was on the table for Ramsey from Arsenal, but the club withdrew the fresh terms. It means Ramsey, who turns 28 in December, can discuss a deal with a club overseas in January with a view to a free transfer in the summer.

Given how much of an impact he has in the final third, the Wales international will be tough to replace:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Aaron Ramsey has provided more Premier League assists for Arsenal (10) since the start of last season than any other player. Seven goals to add to it. https://t.co/aIa7PdoAy6

Banega and Ramsey are different players in terms of style, meaning the former's acquisition might point towards a shift in the centre of the field. 

Whereas Ramsey's game is about breaking late into the box and driving forward, Banega is a much more technical player who opens up defences with his incisive passing and close control. Already he's notched four goals and two assists in all competitions in 2018-19.

The midfielder was crucial in Sevilla winning two UEFA Europa League prizes under Emery. He also excelled in the UEFA Champions League last term in advanced areas of the field:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Most successful final third passes in the Champions League last season 🥇É. Banega -- 253 🥈T. Kroos -- 243 🥉Isco -- 227 https://t.co/z2YUS3pDIM https://t.co/0kPlNGgNxt

Arsenal supporters may prefer to see younger players come into the squad, but Banega is a footballer who's always caught the eye for his club and for Argentina. He may be a little past his best, but someone with the quality he possesses would be an exciting acquisition for the Gunners nevertheless.

Ramsey has been at Arsenal for a decade, so it'll be galling for supporters to see him move either for a cut-price amount or for nothing at the end of the season. Someone of Banega's pedigree coming in, even on a short-term basis, would at least help soften that blow.