Arsene Wenger has been quoted as saying that he will be travelling to South America for the summer and it is likely that he will watch some players there. Arsenal were linked with the signing of Ricky Alvarez a few weeks back and it was reported in some websites that he was available on a free transfer. However, it has emerged recently that he still has a contract with Velez and the club are demanding a sizeable fee for the signing of the midfielder.
Arsenal's scouts have been active in scouting various players around the world in the past and a number of talented players have been signed at a cheap price due to this. Arsene Wenger is a manager who has helped develop many youngsters into quality players and though not many South American players have played for the club, it is of little surprise that the Gunners have been scouting players in the continent.
Though the leagues in Brazil and Argentina are not well followed over the world, a number of world class players including the likes of Ricardo Kaka, Angel di Maria and Robinho have come through the leagues in their native country before having success in Europe. Some of the footballers in the continent are gifted technically and possess a lot of flair in their style of play. Arsenal’s neat passing game will suit these players better than most other teams in the EPL and the Gunners should target players who can make a difference to the side.
Arsenal have been linked with a number of wingers including the likes of Gervinho and Eden Hazard in the last few weeks. If Samir Nasri signs a new contract and Cesc Fabregas stays at the club for the next season, it is likely that Nasri and Theo Walcott, who had a good 2010-11 season, are the most probable players to start on the flanks. With Arshavin likely to stay at the club after his recent comments, there is decent depth in this department.
Though Arshavin is one of the most creative players at the club as his statistics prove, he is no longer the world class player that he was when he signed for the club in 2009. He has been benched in a number of games this season but retains the ability to create and score goals when he is on the pitch. However, it is important to have a quality wide player who can take over from the Russian captain in the next season.
Though one cannot depend on youtube videos to make judgements on a player, not many would have seen his games for Velez in Argentina. It is important that Wenger signs a young wide player this summer who can bring in quality and also, be an integral player of the first team in the future.
The youngster has been impressive for Velez this season and has been an important player for the club in the recent past. He can play in the role of a left winger or a attacking midfielder and Alvarez has excellent technique and has good crossing ability. He is 6’ 2” and looks strong and could cope with the physicality of the Premiership.
Though Alvarez has not been prolific for Velez, he has an excellent shooting range and some of his goals have been absolute screamers. He looks to be comfortable on the ball with either foot though he is stronger with his left foot which is an advantage considering Arsenal do not have a left-footed winger in their squad.
If a player of the quality of Eden Hazard is available for the Gunners at a price which is affordable for the Gunners, then Arsene Wenger is likely to sign the Belgian winger. However, it is unlikely that French champions Lille will sell their star winger for a cheap price and the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid will further inflate player prices in the market. Though the signing of a winger like Stewart Downing provides a relatively safe option, Ricky Alvarez has shown a lot of flair and could turn out to be an excellent player for the Gunners should he be able to adjust in the Premiership.
The obvious disadvantage of signing a player like Alvarez is the price tag which has been set quite high by Velez. It would be a huge gamble if Wenger paid around £10 million to sign the tricky winger. Also, the manager and the player would come under scrutiny if Alvarez has an indifferent start to the season if he is signed by Arsenal which is possible considering that he has never played in Europe.
He suffered a cruciate ligament injury which kept him out for quite some time in 2008 and though he has recovered completely, there is a probability that he could sustain more injuries due to the physicality of the Premiership. Also, Alvarez might be frustrated by the lack of opportunities at the club in his first year because he will be behind the likes of Arshavin, Nasri and Walcott and could get his opportunities only in the cups.
If Alvarez is signed by the Gunners, it would almost certainly mean the end of Vela's Arsenal career. Carlos Vela is one of the players who has huge potential but has failed to be consistent when given the opportunity. He had a great chance to go to Bolton on loan and under Owen Coyle, it is fair to say that he would have got more opportunities than he did get at West Bromwich Albion.