According to report Arsenal has made a bid of £8 million for Hoffenheim midfielder Roberto Firmino. The 22 year old Brazilian was one of the stars of the Bundesliga last season. It is no longer a secret that Arsene Wenger is looking to bring in a central midfielder that would hold the forte for the ageing duo of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini. What is not clear though is who the identity of that player.
However if this report is confirmed to be true, the interest in the Brazilian who scored 16 goals from 33 appearances with 11 assist to boot would represent a significant surprise in the transfer direction of Arsene Wenger. The Brazilian is an attacking midfielder who can also play in both left and right side of midfield. Going by the array of players in attacking midfield that Arsene Wenger has at his disposal with Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain who can also feature in central midfield and then there is also Abou Diaby who is returning from injury.
Although on the face on it, it reeks of a huge surprise for the club to be linked to another attacking midfielder, it will not really be a departure away from the antecedents of the French man seeing that he had the nous to convert Mikel Arteta from an attacking midfielder to a deep lying playmaker or put succinctly as an holding midfielder.
Both the duo of Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta who are 30 and 33 respectively are not getting any younger, especially the Spaniard whose lack of pace and naturally limited physical attributes, makes it difficult for him to handle the physical side of the game comfortably. A move for the young Brazilian could be Arsene Wenger planning for a long term replacement for both players. Whether he sees the Hoffenheim midfielder as a player who can feature in a deep lying midfield role remains to be seen.
The recruitment policy of Arsene Wenger is not always aligned to the needs of the team. Going by past events, he is notorious for making bizarre decisions. Before Andre Arshavin was signed in January 2009, a lot of observers were expecting that he would move for a defender going because of how Arsenal were struggling in defence. But he only went and signed the Russian, a move that surprised then Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson when he remarked that he was surprised that Arsene Wenger brought in an attacking player when his team was in more need of a defender.
The surprise element in Arsene Wenger’s transfer dealing could be in the offing with the interest shown in Roberto Firmino.