Certain variables, like the long-term injury inflicted upon Jurrien Timber 50 minutes into his Premier League debut, make it hard to form a convincing opinion – but the Dutchman’s past exploits with Ajax certainly tantalise a successful career to come.
Kai Havertz’s performances have certainly left much to be admired, with former professional Curtis Shaw even remarking that the German is “not good enough” for the ambitious Gunners squad.
Declan Rice, however, has been sensational and is comfortably one of the Premier League’s finest midfielders, and goalkeeper David Raya’s style aligns with Arteta’s vision, and he has been largely confident, albeit leaving Aaron Ramsdale a little disconcerted.
As a whole, Arsenal have been excellent and are enjoying a continuation of their newfound prominence under their manager’s guidance, perhaps a little less captivating in attack but more mature and cohesive as a unit.
To dethrone Manchester City as the Premier League champions and sustain their position of power over the coming years, Arsenal will need to build upon this impressive foundation and continue to add first-class quality to the squad, with Ansu Fati the latest player to enter the narrative.
Arsenal transfer news – Ansu Fati
According to Football Transfers, Arsenal are among the host of English outfits to hold an interest in signing Barcelona winger Fati at the end of his loan spell with Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Spaniard, who boasts a remarkable £871m release clause, has made a promising start to life in the Premier League, joining Brighton in the summer after injuries heavily disrupted his development at La Blaugrana.
Xavi’s side felt that his growth would be best served elsewhere for the time being, but with neither Ferran Torres nor Raphinha evoking confidence at Camp Nou, suitors such as Arsenal will have an onerous task in convincing both the player and his LaLiga club to grant his sale.
Ansu Fati’s style of play
Once remarked as a “generational player” by Xavi, the 21-year-old was touted for greatness as he blitzed onto the scene with age-belying brilliance several years ago, scoring eight goals from 33 matches in 2019/20 – a campaign that he commenced as a 16-year-old.
It looked like the start of something special, and maybe it still is, but Fati’s lightning start to life on the major stage took a detrimental hit the following year when he ruptured the inner meniscus of his left knee during a 5-2 romping of Real Betis. It was November; he would not play again that season.
Perhaps it’s more poignant that he had started the 2020/21 term in stellar showing, posting five goals and four assists from just ten matches, but he’s failed to return to the same blistering heights since and Barcelona felt that a move to Brighton would be beneficial for his progress.
At his best, the £198k-per-week phenom is dynamic, intelligent and technically astute, with a ruthless striking streak and electricity on the ball that highlights his Barca DNA.
Ansu Fati: Style of Play
*Sourced via WhoScored
And despite losing his way in Spain, Fati is still performing at an exemplary, clinical level, ranking among the top 5% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for goals, the top 3% for shots taken, the top 2% for pass completion and the top 10% for touches in the attacking box per 90, as per FBref.
Such metrics underscore his insane natural ability, and it’s quite a thing to imagine how good he could become in the future. While he might be enamoured with returning to Barcelona and becoming a salient figure under Xavi’s wing, Arsenal will be eager to entice the whiz with a package promising a platform to grow into his skin.
Ansu Fati’s statistics this season
Completing a season-long loan transfer to Brighton in the summer, the overarching consensus was that the talented winger was a sterling addition to a fast-rising outfit, freshly arrived on the continental scene.
From just 13 appearances (including six starts), Fati has already posted four goals and supplied an assist across all competitions, with The Athletic’s Andy Naylor praising his “well fashioned” creative support.
The ten-cap Spain international will now be hoping to start earning showings from the outset with greater regularity, but given that he has demonstrated his cutting edge emphatically already, this is something that will likely be realised over the coming months.
It only further fuels Arsenal’s interest, with Arteta and co undoubtedly taking note of his swift integration into life on English shores; given their past success in signing wingers from Catalonia, it might be an auspicious road to go down.
Arsenal’s next Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez captured the imagination of the ardent Arsenal support at a time when the club feared it was trudging into mediocrity, and he set English football alight.
Signing from Barcelona – Fati’s parent club – for £35m in 2014, the Chilean scored 80 goals and served 45 assists on a platter for the Gunners as he wreaked havoc, with Arsene Wenger lauding the player as “exceptional.”
At his apotheosis, Sanchez plundered 30 goals during the 2016/17 campaign, with 24 of those strikes coming in the Premier League alone, and while he had already been an exciting star in Spain, he was understandably overshadowed by Lionel Messi and Neymar, which is hardly something that he needs to rue – the 34-year-old scored 19 goals and supplied 12 assists during his final LaLiga season.
But moving to Arsenal in the Premier League established him as a world-class player, he ruled supreme in north London and was feared by all across the country.
Perhaps Fati should take note, especially now that he has had a taste for English football. While returning to Barcelona and attempting to cement his place is something that will obviously appeal, as it naturally did with Sanchez in Spain, Arsenal could offer him a starring role that could be the making of him.