The January window may have just shut but the transfer rumours just keep on coming. This time reports suggest that Arsenal had a scout present at Benfica’s match with Portimonense. Who was the player in question? Andrija Živković.
The Serbian played the game as a central midfielder but can play on the flanks as well. Whilst being watched, the 21-year-old got on the scoresheet in a comfortable 3-1 win for Benfica.
The Sun is reporting that the Gunners had a scout present at the game to watch the 21-year-old for the second time in recent weeks. Arsenal’s scout presence hasn’t gone unnoticed in the local media, as the Portuguese press has published posts about the Gunners’ scouts on several occasions.
The publication also reported that the scouts from Manchester United, Juventus, West Ham, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and Newcastle were in attendance at the match. Whether they were there to watch the 21-year-old or not is unclear.
Andrija Živković is more renown for playing on the flanks on either side. But in recent games, he’s been deployed as a central midfielder. It’s that versatility that has supposedly attracted the attention of several clubs across Europe.
The 21-year-old has made 15 appearances for Benfica this season, with 8 of them being starts. In that 823 minutes of football, Živković has scored 2 goals and assisted twice whilst maintaining a passing accuracy of 82.8%.
If he manages to keep up such impressive numbers, expect to hear more about Arsenal scouts from the Portuguese press. In his current contract, the youngster has a £52.5million release clause but if the player were to force a move, a lower fee could be accepted. The Sun reckons £6.3m may just be enough to do the deal but that seems unlikely considering the release clause.
Before we all get too ahead of ourselves, Arsenal would only attempt to sign Andrija Živković if one of Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere were set to leave in the summer. He seems more of a central midfielder to me and I believe thats what Wenger will see him as especially considering his stats.
But does Andrija Živković have a chance centrally? Granit Xhaka’s spot in the team has come under increasing scrutiny as his performances have failed to live up to his £35m price tag. Aaron Ramsey, on the other hand, has proven himself to be crucial to Arsenal’s success in recent years, with several high-profile goals at Wembley.
The Welshman’s contract is set to expire in the summer of 2019 and rumours suggest that the 27-year-old has no intention of signing a new deal in hope of a move to Juventus. As for Jack Wilshere, his current deal runs out in the summer and Arsène Wenger has publicly stated he’ll do everything he can to keep the Englishman at the club. But a contract offer of £80,000-a-week is yet to be accepted by Wilshere and his representatives, so, that situation also hangs in the balance.
It’s clear that Arsenal needs a revamp in the summer, whether Andrija Živković will bea part of that process remains to be seen.