Whoever said the best things in life are free definitely wasn’t speaking in the context of football transfers.
And as if to prove the point, Arsenal would do better than to take up the services of Algerian winger Yacine Brahimi on a free transfer, following the expiry of his contract at FC Porto.
Primarily a left-winger, Arsenal’s interest would be understandable given the lack of options in that area at present, but the absence of a price tag – even in Arsenal’s current financial situation – shouldn’t be an excuse for The Gunners to compromise on quality when it is completely unnecessary to do so.
That’s because Arsenal already have wide alternatives within the youth system, and with the likes of Reiss Nelson impressing on loan at Hoffenheim and Bukayo Saka getting albeit extremely brief first-team game time last season, The Gunners have enough resources to blood young talent to strengthen depth sufficiently without needing to acquire the services of 29-year-old Brahimi and having to fork out any needless extra cash on wages.
If Arsenal are to breed success from the addition of a winger, it will be for someone to get beyond defences and create chances for usual suspects Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to finish off.
And while Brahimi has a talent for dribbling, his weak crossing ability suggests a lack of end-product that plagued Arsenal enough last season, demonstrated by Lacazette ending up topping the team’s assists chart – such was the shortage of service supplied to the potent frontmen last season.
Developing the promising talent of 17-year-old Saka, in particular, would provide a new dimension to the Arsenal attack, having only been gifted 123 minutes of senior football last season.
It looks like either way, Arsenal are going to end up taking some sort of risk, and it would surely be better to be lumbered with a promising youngster yet to blossom than a 30-something, expensive, waning waste of money that has never been tested with the demands of the Premier League.
Given the youngsters will be at the club regardless, it would be counter-productive to halt their growth – especially in the case of Nelson who will surely be looking to kick on after a positive spell away in Germany – and that’s even if Brahimi turns out to perform well.
But at this point in time, the positives lie with those already at Arsenal, and in a year where the club will look to rectify the poor performances of the previous campaign, it is probably in Unai Emery’s best interests to dodge the bullet of an as-yet unproven talent as Brahimi.