Arsenal’s goalless draw to Crystal Palace on Thursday night reiterated the obvious: the Gunners are crying out for some creativity.
And in search of that, Mikel Arteta should look no further than Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.
Grealish is already a candidate for Premier League Player of the SeasonGetty Images – Getty
January has seen Arsenal linked with various attacking midfielders, from Emi Buendia at Norwich to Inter’s Christian Eriksen.
It suggests the club know exactly what is missing and why they’re in the bottom half of the Premier League table with 18 games played.
The Gunners simply don’t create enough chances, which is why they’ve bagged just 20 goals this season.
To put that into context – Brighton, battling relegation in 17th, have still managed to score 21 times.
Aubameyang has just three goals in 16 league games this seasonGetty Images – Getty
Much attention has been paid to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s woeful goalscroing form, but as Arsenal legend Ray Parlour points out, you can’t score without service.
Parlour told talkSPORT: “Service is so important for strikers, you need people putting balls into good areas you can run into.
“There’s been a little bit of a lack of that, but also confidence. His confidence levels are pretty low.”
It certainly says a lot that Kieran Tierney is Arsenal’s leading chance creator in the Premier League this season…
Most chances created by Arsenal players (Premier League 2020/21)
Kieran Tierney – 21
Bukayo Saka – 18
Dani Ceballos – 17
Willian – 17
Hector Bellerin – 15
Meanwhile, Grealish is behind only Kevin De Bruyne for chances created, having made a staggering 55 chances for his teammates.
While Villa have blown away everyone’s expectations this season, few would argue they have more attacking talent than Arsenal on paper – and just imagine what Grealish could achieve surrounded by even better players.
Buendia’s stats are impressive, too, with 62 chances created for Norwich this season, but there’s a difference between what Grealish is doing and making chances for the best team in the Championship.
Buendia has also been linked with ArsenalGetty Images – Getty
Moreover, think what it would do for Aubameyang, whose incredible goalscoring ability is being wasted without someone like Grealish to create for him.
While there is little indication of Arsenal moving for Grealish, they have been urged to break the bank and get him by the likes of former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp and die-hard Arsenal fan Piers Morgan.
Speaking on his podcast, Redknapp said: “I think [Arsenal] have to spend.
Grealish could transform ArsenalAFP
“They are way off it, at the moment. They need to bring a bit of quality. Arsenal is a massive football club – take a Grealish. He needs to play at the bigger club.”
Morgan agreed, saying the Gunners should ‘break the bank’ for Grealish and ‘build the team around him.’
It is understood Villa would demand £100million for their superstar, who has arguably been the Premier League’s standout player this season, and Manchester United are the club who crop up most in relation to a potential move.
However, looking at the established ‘Big Six’, it is difficult to see a club where Grealish fits better than Arsenal, in terms of a vacancy and an immediate opportunity to shine.
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