What would Yannick Carrasco bring to Arsenal?

It seems remarkable that Yannick Ferreira Carrasco is still only 25 years old. After spending what seems like a decade (I’m aware it was only a year, but still) rotting away in the Chinese ‘Super’ League and loading his pockets, he has decided to actually try and make something of himself.

And it’s Arsenal who ‘lead the chase’ for the Belgian wide man, although Manchester United have also reportedly registered an interest in the former Atlético Madrid Champions League finalist.

Career

Playing for Monaco’s youth team wasn’t satisfying an eighteen-year-old Yannick Carrasco. The introduction of an ambitious Claudio Ranieri changed things and soon enough the Belgian was propelled to the first-team. Three years of bliss ensued…

3-1 at the Emirates. Carrasco on the scoresheet. They sneaked through on away goals after losing the second leg but still, what a feat. This 2014/15 Champions League run must’ve been a highlight for him before they bowed out resiliently to ever-imperious Italian Champions Juventus.

The end of that season prompted Atlético Madrid to come in for the talented twenty-one-year-old and for only €20m, Carrasco was theirs. 81 games and 17 goals for Madrid was perhaps a disappointing overall return when they decided to sell him to China, but the ‘Champions League Specialist’ showed his worth.

STATS – CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE

Appearances – 25

Goals – 7

Assists – 5

What Does He Offer?

Genuine pace. His six-foot frame does little to stifle his agility, making him able to effortlessly power through defences. The Chinese League can definitely misconstrue figures, with the defenders more like Shaun Brisley than Sergio Ramos. Nevertheless, looking at his time with Atléti, he regularly broke down top six-foot, none more so than in the Champions League, scoring against Real Madrid in the final.

Statistically speaking, 14 goal contributions (10 goals, 4 assists) in 19 starts for Atlético Madrid in 2017 are numbers I personally can get behind. What I found exciting from an Arsenal perspective is the amount of dribbles Carrasco attempts – 3.6 per game at current side Dalian Yifang. Bar Iwobi, Arsenal lack someone who will look the defender straight in the eye and knock the ball past him, causing creative issues in key, high-pressure parts of the game.

Arsenal have been longing for a direct wide player, their fans mumbling the names of Ousmane Dembélé and Cristian Pavón in their sleep. But until now, nothing has ever seemed concrete enough to get excited about, with most of the names thrown into the transfer windmill seemingly full of air. With a move edging closer, according to the papers, we could be seeing Yannick Ferreira Carrasco in an Arsenal shirt soon…

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