It looks increasingly likely that one of Europe’s hottest wingers will be on the move this summer, could Arsenal be in the race?
Bordeaux manager Gus Poyet (he’s still around? Good for you, Gus) appears resigned to the fact that he will eventually lose his star winger Malcom, who has lit up Ligue 1 since his arrival in January 2016, to one of Europe’s big boys. His destination is unknown, but England seems the most probable at the moment, with Poyet recently telling Marca “We almost lost him to the Premier League. We must prepare for this because sooner or later he will leave.” Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United have all been linked with the Brazilian.
You could argue that all three of those teams addressed the issue of a winger in the recent January transfer window, with Arsenal and Manchester United swapping Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Spurs signing Lucas Moura from PSG. The Gunners though are still in need of another wide player, with the aforementioned Mkhitaryan the only real option they have on the flanks.
This might give us the upper hand over Spurs in the race for Malcom, who have Lucas, Erik Lamela and Heung-Min Son as obvious wide players. Daniel Levy’s reluctance to pay top-end wages might also deter the Bordeaux winger from joining Tottenham. Jose Mourinho’s side are in a similar situation to Arsenal, in that they have one true winger in Sanchez and a few players who can play out wide, but if they had their choice, probably wouldn’t. Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford spring to mind in that category. This could mean the Red Devils target Malcom, although you’d expect someone would have to make way if they did, United struggle to get all their stars on the pitch as it is. If Manchester United do get involved in the Malcom sweepstakes, there aren’t many teams that can match them when it comes to attracting players due to their illustrious history and financial clout.
Malcom is having a spectacular season in France. Per football statistics website Squawka, the Brazilian has the highest overall performance score at Bordeaux of 895 (the next best is 223) and 3rd in Ligue 1 as a whole, behind only Neymar and Edinson Cavani. The former Corinthians man has also piled up 6 assists (joint 5th in the league), 53 key passes (4th) and 8 goals (tied 14th). Not a bad return for a player only just about to turn 21, it’s fair to say.
It won’t be plain sailing for Arsenal if they go after Malcom again this summer, with plenty of other ships trying to dock at that particular harbour, but they will certainly be in with a chance of landing the Brazilian ace. A triumphant Europa League campaign, gaining the Gunners access to the Champions League, would certainly help their cause.