Over the past week, various news outlets were beginning to report on the future of Paris Saint-Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa. The 27-year-old’s contract expires at the end of this season and he is expected to move on to a new club. So when a full French national team defender with Champions League experience comes available on a free, countless clubs will be linked him.
Kurzawa joined PSG in 2015 after coming up through the Monaco system. While he missed out on France’s World Cup victory, he has been a part of countless trophies with the club that has dominated French football for the last decade. He is primarily a left-back but has been used at times as a left midfielder in a 4-3-3 and even a left-winger - sound familiar?
Arsenal were one of the many clubs reportedly interested in Layvin’s services, but now SPORT is indicating that the player prefers a move to Barcelona over the Premier League. Barcelona are apparently trying to move on their current back up left back, Junior Firpo, and appear to think Kurzawa is a safe option that can be transferred out the next summer for a profit if he doesn’t work out.
He is already on a contract near £100,000 a week and will likely push that up another £20-30,000 in this next move. That would make him one of Arsenal’s top five or six most expensive players. Money that should instead go towards signing Bukayo Saka to a long contract.
A nice paycheck and playing in Spain is an attractive offer for a player turning 28 during the upcoming season. Also linked with Liverpool, he would remain the backup there as well, so it’s likely down to personal preference of club and location over needing to be seen as the number one option anywhere.
Arsenal meanwhile have plenty of left-back options and needs elsewhere. Bukayo Saka has shined when thrust into the role following injuries and clearly looks to have Premier League starter talent despite his young age (18). The club need to prioritize signing him to a long term deal this summer.
Kieran Tierney, turning 23 this summer, was one of last year’s big transfers, but rarely saw the pitch after two lengthy injuries. He is expected to be the Arteta’s primary left back next season once he can maintain full fitness. Then there is Sead Kolasinac (27 by next season), a solid backup for the position, even though he is more attack minded than a lockdown defender. Simply put, Kurzawa while he may be talented wouldn’t be addressing a primary need this window.
Arsenal have more pressing questions. Which midfielders does Arteta believe can remain in his system? How many additions in the midfield are needed this summer? How to handle the three older centerbacks’ contracts and futures? Will Lacazette or Aubameyang leave before next season?
With needs elsewhere, chasing Kurzawa seems like wasted effort while Arsenal has three viable left-back options. Assuming of course we can avoid the injury curse. Barcelona or Liverpool are able to offer the to-be-28-year-old a sizable contract with his arrival on a free and the chance to challenge for the Champions League. Mikel Arteta, Edu, and company are likely looking at a different profile and different position to overhaul the squad in the next few windows.