The noise coming from different angles is that the Chilean nicknamed Nino Maravilla ( wonder boy, in English) is on Arsenal’s radar. And that a possible deal is in the offing depending on the sources that one chooses to believe. The Chilean is known for his explosive style of play, particularly adept at coming up with something out of nothing in tight situations like the goal he scored in the last day of La Liga against Altetico Madrid at the Nou Camp.
Despite his largely cameo roles in La Liga last season, he still came up with a good return of 19 goals for Barcelona. He is blessed with an unusual ability on the ball, his explosive dribbling and pace are definitely attributes that any manager would love.
What will the player whose first club as a professional player was Cobreloa in Chile bring to the table at Arsenal. There is always an innate longing from fans to see that the club bring in players who would improve the team’s fortunes, while at the same time fears are expressed on what happens to players already at the club especially those who are fan favourites like Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski. More on this later.
Yet, the issue of what position the Chilean would play at Arsenal can be gleaned from the statement made by a former manager in this regard. Pep Guardiola said of the Chilean when he joined Barca from Udinese in July, 2011:
“He can play in three attacking positions, he shows intense defensive skills and he is direct.”
The key points made by Guardiola is that he can play in the three attacking positions. Which are both wings and upfront as a striker. And he is very comfortable in these positions. In a 4-3-3, he can play from any of the wings and in a 4-2-2, he can play in attack.
Added to that is his willingness to add defensive nous to his undoubted skills. At present in Arsenal, the only player who can truly be said to fit that bill of playing in three attacking position is Santi Cazorla, who can play in both wings and the hole behind the striker, though it must be said he drifts alot into the middle, unlike the Chilean who gives width to a team. And he can also play as the arrow head of an attack.
His versatility alone is a huge plus to any team, meaning he adds much needed depth to the team without particularly altering the overall balance of it. Too many times in Arsenal’s play, the ball has tended to be recycled in midfield without any incisiveness and directness to move forward. With many midfield technicians and a few direct players like Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and even Tomas Rosicky, a more direct player in the mode of the Chilean would reduce turn overs of balls in the middle as runs will inevitably be made behind the opposition defence which he is good at because of his pace.
No doubt if he becomes an Arsenal player, he is likey to play more from the left wing when Theo Walcott becomes fit, which brings Podolski and Cazorla into direct fight for that position. The German for all his directness is not exactly a technical player and Cazorla being an ambidextrous player who is unplayable when on form can fit in anywhere. Which the German might suffer as a result.
The key reasoning here should be on the depth of the team, having more good players that can play a position is a good thing for the club because Arsene Wenger is notorious for not rotating players largely due to the fact he don’t trust his backup. So more players that are at par with the first team means things can easily be freshen up in case of injury or loss of form to a player without necessarily affecting the overall standard on display.