Reported Arsenal target scores winner in Lorient triumph

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Lorient's Raphael Guerreiro scored his fifth of the season as Les Merlus beat Lille 1-0.

Early in the transfer window, The Independent linked FC Lorient’s Raphael Guerreiro with a summer move to Arsenal, since then, he has also been linked to Manchester City by Le10Sport, and it’s clear to see why.

After making his move from Caen in Ligue 2 to Lorient in Ligue 1, the French-born player has never looked back, continuing to improve and impress.

It’s becoming difficult to decide whether to call Guerreiro a left-back or a left midfielder, because this season he has played both with ease, showing the different attributes to his game in the separate roles.

On Saturday, the Portuguese international was asked to play left midfield in Sylvain Ripoll’s 4-4-2 and he didn’t disappoint his coach.

New signing Gianni Bruno did well in the box to get a shot off, but the Lille defence blocked the effort. However, the ball fell to Mathias Autret and the midfielder fired the rebound towards goal. Guerreiro, in the right place and the right time, managed to get his thigh on the ball to turn it past ‘keeper Vincent Enyeama at the far post.

Most of his goals this season have come after runs from the left and courtesy of the power of his left foot, but Saturday showed Guerreiro's attacking instincts - he gambled that the ball would come to him and it paid off.

His progression in the midfield makes him a very interesting prospect and it depends on what type of player Arsenal and Man City are looking for. He could easily play at left-back, he is a very good defender and until this season, that was his position.

However, his better, more influential performances have come from midfield this season. Guerreiro now has five goals, his left foot is deadly and could be wasted in a deeper role.

While both of those teams have a history of letting their full-backs venture further forward than he would be able to at left-back in Lorient’s 4-4-2, both English clubs rely on the full-backs for width, and that is where Guerreiro would be perfect.

If he continues to play this way for the rest of the season, they won’t be the only clubs watching Lorient with interest.

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