Arsenal to pay £5 million for another left-back ... really?

Benfica

Arsenal have been linked with Lorenzo Melgarejo of Benfica ... but how true are the rumours?

Other than having one of the best names I have ever encountered football agent Juan Gabriel Appleyard is also the representative of a very talented 22-year-old Paraguayan left-back by the tongue twisting name of Lorenzo Melgarejo.

The attacking full-back signed for Portuguese outfit SL Benfica from Independiente of Asuncion in 2011 and he spent a season on loan at Pacos Ferreira as a winger.

But he was soon converted into a full-back by Jorge Jesus for this season and despite some rocky moments at first he soon became vital to an excellent run of form for the club as they looked on course to secure a fantastic League, Cup and Europa League treble.

So such form was bound to harbour interest with one Premier League outfit reported to be keen by Appleyard:

"Arsenal and Fenerbahce have enquired about Melgarejo. But so far there has been nothing concrete,"

But what is the reality of an Arsenal move?

Because there are a couple of factors that pour scorn on this deal.

Firstly it is important to remember that while Benfica were certainly on course for a treble they capitulated toward the end of the season and ended up winning absolute zip. Porto beat them to the League title while Chelsea scored a dramatic winner in the Europa League final in Amsterdam. The punishment was completed when they lost 2-1 to Vitoria Guimares in the Portuguese Cup final.

And while this was going on one player who was blamed for some of the lacklustre defending and poor form was the Paraguayan defensive convert.

Toward the end of last season the 22-year-old was increasingly left out of the Benfica starting line-up. In fact after March he featured in just two more games for the club against Sporting Lisbon and Estoril and was taken off in the Europa League final against Chelsea.

So why would Arsenal want to splash out on a player out of form; in particular when they do not need him?

The club already has two more than capable left-backs in the form of Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal; with Thomas Vermaelen capable of filling in if the pair ever became incapacitated at the same time.

So in this case it looks like, that despite my adoration for his exquisite name, Appleyard is trying to build up the interest in his client rather then there being any real concrete interest from Arsenal.

Which is all the better for Arsenal fans - because Melgarejo has Andre Santos: The Sequel written all over him.

image: © Crystian Cruz

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