(EDITOR’S NOTE: Please welcome Gage to The Short Fuse!)
We are no stranger to receiving Barcelona’s underperforming hopefuls and giving them opportunities, but whether or not Denis Suarez will follow the example of Alexis Sanchez (minus the pouting) is up to him. Arsenal recently acquired the 25-year-old playmaker from the top La Liga side via a loan move in the January transfer window, with an option to buy at the end of the season. The Spaniard made his debut at the Etihad on Sunday in the 66th minute after going 3-1 down, backing a lost cause after an Aguero hat-trick and a stalled attack. The debut was questionably timed by Unai Emery, but he did not necessarily seem to play badly given the circumstances.
Denis Suárez isn’t a new face to Emery, having played under him at Sevilla in the 2014-2015 season. Though Suárez is a proper central attacking midfield player, Emery has shown a growing interest in playing Suárez on the wing, as he did in his year at Sevilla. This is an area Arsenal have lacked creativity, as we are currently playing a defensive-minded Sead Kolašinac on the left.
Setting Suárez out on the left flank will immediately pump creativity into the side’s attack, allowing more opportunity to get the ball forward and on the feet of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette. Suárez’s tendency to play quick and move off his passes will create fluidity in the attack, potentially sparking the Wengerball we have come to miss and only seen unimpressive glimpses of in the recent past. In his time with Villareal in the 2016 season, Suárez was directly involved in 18 percent of their 44 La Liga goals, more than anyone else from the side.
Suárez could provide a balance in the attacking third and serve as a compliment to the number 10; if that position is earned back by Mesut Özil, the duo could prove to be lethal. His centralizing tendency would work well to let the full-backs run in on the counter, something Arsenal hasn’t been able to do well recently due to focus on setting back at times due to a shaky defense. The ability of Suárez to pinch in and accent the number 10 pulls the center-backs forward, forcing the outside backs to pinch in support, opening holes in the defense and creating space for playmakers like Lacazette and PEA to move into and wreak havoc.
This would potentially fix Arsenal’s problem at defending the counter as well, watering down the quick attack with out of position wing-backs and a deep setting midfield after coming back to support. At this point we should be willing to do anything that gives an opportunity to take pressure off of our short-handed defense, especially the likes of Mustafi and Lichtsteiner.
There are basically no negatives to the signing - you have a somewhat young player with promise, chomping at the bit for an opportunity to prove himself. Emery is looking to rebuild and is taking applications for whoever thinks they can help do so, with Suárez being one of the first to get his name called from the outside. He is a creative minded winger who can flick into a number 10 role at any second if needed, providing a versatility and creativeness in the attacking third. The ability to free space in the box for Lacazette and Aubameyang to work is something Arsenal have struggled with this season, and if Suárez can improve that, then we are glad to have you kid, welcome to Arsenal.