A move for Wolfsburg playmaker might just make sense for the Gunners manager
Diego claimed this week that not only had Arsenal shown an interest in him, he would jump at the chance to move to the Emirates. “It would be an ideal destination for me because their style suits my characteristics perfectly,” he said. “Of course I would say ‘yes’ to Arsenal.”
But should Arsenal say ‘yes’ to Diego? On the face of it, Wenger is well-stocked with creative playmakers. Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, in particular, are employed with just that role in mind. And, of course, the club-record signing of Germany international Mesut Ozil during the summer has only strengthened Arsenal’s hand in attack.
The problem for Arsenal, if there is one, comes at the spearhead of the side, where Olivier Giroud, while in excellent form, has little support other than the ever under-achieving Nicklas Bendtner. It is tempting to suggest that the last thing Wenger needs is another playmaker to weave pretty patterns around the penalty area without actually managing to score himself.
And yet, the more one examines a possible move for Diego, the more it looks worth a gamble. At 28, Diego is in his prime. He can play either left midfield or as an attacking midfielder – useful versatility - and he knows Ozil well from their days at Werder Bremen.
He has picked up plenty of Champions League experience from earlier spells at FC Porto and Bremen, and went all the way to the semi-finals of the 2007 Uefa Cup with the German side.
Then there was the Europa League win with Atletico Madrid in 2012 – this is a player who has added quality, intelligent passing and cutting edge to every side he has played for.
Those reasons alone may be enough to convince Wenger - who showed with the signing of Ozil that he is not afraid to spend big to get Arsenal where they need to be – to make a move.
Quite what such a move would mean for the Arsenal careers of Cazorla, Theo Walcott or Tomas Rosicky, it is difficult to tell: you do not sign a Brazil international just to keep him on the bench, so Diego would slot straight into the first team.
Ultimately, this may be the wrong player at the wrong time for Wenger, but in a season where he has already broken the club’s transfer record for Ozil, you wouldn’t rule anything out.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge