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[Transfer Targets] The Low-Down On Stewart Downing

With the growing concern that Samir Nasri will be leaving to one of our top four rivals, along with the new rumours surfacing about the possible departure of Theo Walcott to Chelsea and the uncertainty surrounding Andre Arshavin’s future, the squad could soon be lacking quality and depth in the wingers department.  Therefore the suggestion of signing a £20 million-rated replacement could excite many Arsenal fans.  But Stewart Downing is not exactly the player they would have in mind, let alone for this figure, which like with the majority of players we are linked with would smash our current transfer record.  Whilst they could cost significantly more, the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard would be welcomed much more warmly by Arsenal fans who have viewed the Aston Villa player-of-the-year in the Premier League for years and are dubious of the extent to which he can improve the squad.

What’s his pedigree?: Since joining Aston Villa in 2009 for around £11.5 million, Downing has impressed along with fellow wingers Ashley Young (now of Manchester United) and more recently Marc Albrighton – the three of them combined to score 23 goals and create 31 last season.  His main attribute as a winger is undoubtedly his crossing ability, but in the current Arsenal side this would not use particularly useful; we rarely have more that one or two players in the box at any time.  He also has a decent shot and likes to let fly from long-range, which may help in those games where we are forever knocking the ball around on the edge of the box.  The main criticism of the England International is that he is too one-footed; it is rare to see him use his right foot for more than a small touch or short pass.

How’s the chemistry?: Whilst he may not know anyone at the club, speaking English means he will be able to settle in easily and quickly become integrated into the squad.   Tactically, he would fit in well-being an out-and-out winger, as opposed the current crop of wide players who prefer to cut in side.  He would likely play on the left which would provide us with greater width to stretch teams, allowing more room for the creative playmakers in the centre.  He can also play on the right, but this would negate much of his effect as he would cut inside on his left foot and result in the team being as, if not more narrow than it already is.

Do we have a chance?: The services of Downing are in demand after revealing he is open to leaving Aston Villa. Nonetheless, new manager Alex McLeish aims to keep Downing at the club, and with interest from big-spending Liverpool, not to mention Tottenham bidding for any player that walks, it will prove tough to persuade him to move to the red side of North London; even if we were to bid the required amount, under the current wage structure we would have little chance of competing with the liberal Harry ‘twitchy’ Redknapp and Kenny Dalgleish.

Likely Bid: £16 million. Probability: 3/10, dependant on the futures of our current wingers.

Submitted by Clockendview – just an Arsenal Blog


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