The 26-year-old defensive midfielder is reportedly being targeted by the Gunners for a £16 million move from the Allianz Arena to the Emirates, after being told he is surplus to requirements at the European champions.
At 6ft2”, Gustavo would bring exactly the kind of physical presence the Gunners have lacked in midfield since the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona last summer.
Wenger opted to convert midfield playmaker Mikel Arteta into a holding midfielder last term and the Spaniard performed admirably deployed in that position. However, the potential arrival of Gustavo could see the 31-year-old vice captain sidelined or, at the very least, find himself used as part of a rotation system in Wenger’s midfield trio next term.
Last summer’s arrival, Arteta’s compatriot Santi Cazorla would be practically impossible to leave out of the team, such was the importance of his performance last term. The Spaniard functioned as the advanced playmaker and occasionally on the left flank to impressive effect, demonstrated by his 12 goals and 14 assists in all competitions.
A fully fit Jack Wilshere would also walk into any starting line-up, whilst Aaron Ramsey has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months, improved well and regained his form and fitness to become an important utility to the manager, whilst Tomas Rosicky comes in when fit to add control and energy to the play.
There is no doubt that Arsenal desperately need a genuine defensive midfielder – the perpetual injury woes of Abou Diaby means Wenger has not had the protection and stability offered to his backline since the days of Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira.
An arrival like Luiz Gustavo would be welcomed by the fans and would surely aid the Gunners in their quest for improved steel at the back. They went on a fantastic run a the end of last season, unbeaten in 10 games, to beat North London rivals Tottenham to a top four finish and that was largely due to a new and improved work ethic and focus on defensive responsibility following their defeat at White Hart Lane.
However, if Gustavo takes his place in Wenger’s 4-3-3 system, likely Arteta or Ramsey would slip down the pecking order. Personally, I prefer Cazorla deployed centrally, rather than wide and Wilshere’s determination and talent means he and the tiny Spaniard would likely make up the midfield trio with Gustavo. In big games, the vice-captain and the young Welshman will likely find themselves on the bench if the big Brazilian arrives at the Emirates this summer.
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