It’s never the wrong time of the season for an Arsenal transfer rumor, right? The latest scuttlebutt has Mikel Arteta and his staff scouting Aston Villa youngster Carney Chukwuemeka. The 18-year old midfielder is entering the final year of his contract and has found playing time hard to come by at Villa, with both Dean Smith and now Steven Gerrard preferring more experienced players.
Chukwuemeka has made just nine Premier League appearances this season, eight of which have been as a substitute. He’s picked up one PL assist this year and has two goals, two assists in six appearances in the PL2. At the international level, the Austrian born, Nigeria-eligible youngster most recently captained the England U-19 side.
He plays primarily as a central attacking midfielder, a spot that Martin Ødegaard has well locked-down for the foreseeable future in North London, but the Gunners do need a left-sided #8 for their new setup. I’m not sure how well a right-footed player like Chukwuemeka fits the bill to play on the left, but if the Gunners are genuinely interested in him, I’m going to trust their analysis that he’ll be a fit somewhere at some point down the road. It’s common knowledge that Arsenal are in for two attackers / strikers this summer, so perhaps Mikel Arteta sees him in one of those roles.
More likely is that he’s a talented young player running down his contract and Arsenal in the midst of rebuilding the roster with a youth movement. Buying good, young players at cheap prices because their deals are running down, even if they don’t necessarily fit a specific, pressing need is a solid general transfer strategy. And again, it’s entirely possible that there is no interest from Arsenal, and the rumor is his agent trying to grease the wheels towards a new, better deal at Villa.
Or maybe the Gunners are being a bit vindictive and petty following Aston Villa’s insulting bid for Emile Smith Rowe over the summer. Whatever the case may be, amassing young talent, messing with another club, or some other reason altogether, I’m here for it.