Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is eyeing a move for Lille youngster Carlos Baleba as he looks to add some depth to his squad during the summer transfer window.
What’s the latest on Carlos Baleba to Arsenal?
According to 90min, Edu Gaspar is eyeing the central midfielder for the Gunners ahead of the transfer window, however, they will face competition from Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle United for his signature.
The report claims that Arsenal have, indeed, sent scouts to watch the 19-year-old this term, although the club could demand a fee similar to the one that saw Amadou Onana leave the club last summer – around £30m.
Who is Carlos Baleba?
The young Cameroonian midfielder has burst onto the scene with the French side this term, making 12 Ligue 1 appearances and he is already attracting interest from the continent.
Arteta already has a wonderful midfield triumvirate of Martin Odegaard, Granit Xhaka, and Thomas Partey, the latter two, however, are aged 30 and 29 respectively and the Spaniard will be looking at signing players who could eventually replace them in the midfield.
Baleba could be an ideal Partey heir as the pair have displayed similar statistics over a range of metrics this term. The duo have registered similar numbers with regard to passing success rate (84.4% to 86.2%), progressive carries (12 to 21), shot-creating actions per 90 (2.92 to 3.05) and blocks (11 to 16) and considering the 19-year-old has played nine fewer matches than the Arsenal star, his statistics become even more impressive.
Partey has been excellent for Arsenal this season, ranking as their fourth-best player with a Sofascore rating of 7.19 and while he appears to be at his peak right now, signing a player with the potential such as Baleba, who could learn from the Ghanian, would be a wise move by Arteta.
The 29-year-olds main strengths are passing and long shots according to WhoScored, while Baleba also seems to offer a similar style judging by his statistics.
Journalist Graeme Bailey described the youngster as being a “future star”, with a number Premier League sides interested in the player, and Edu and Arteta will have to work tirelessly to make sure a deal gets over the line.
Of course, winning the league title and securing Champions League qualification for the first time in six years could boost their chances of landing the teen prodigy, as they would be able to offer the highest level of competition in club football – instead of no European football or the Europa League or Conference League.