According to recent reports, Arsenal could be involved in a tug-of-war with Serie A giants Juventus over Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka’s signature this summer.
Given their poor start to the Bundesliga campaign, it comes as no surprise that many of the club’s key players have been linked with moves away from the club as they aim to progress in the upper echelons of European competition.
With just six victories this term, Markus Weinzierl’s side sit in an unfamiliar 10th position and although it’s unlikely they’ll stay in mid-table for the remainder of the campaign, a challenge for UEFEA Champions League qualification next season is gradually fading with their inconsistent form.
Goretzka has been one of the Schalke’s more consistent performers in an otherwise forgettable campaign this term.His display this past weekend during their 1-0 win over Ingolstadt showcased his talents.
His individual stats were as follows
- 2 key passes
- 5 completed dribbles
- Fouled on 3 occasions
- 78 touches, 44 completed passes (70.5% accuracy)
- 2 tackles, interceptions and clearances (6 in total)
With that in mind, it’s inevitable that the talented German would attract interest from various clubs, not least because he’s shown signs of maturity from the fresh-faced teenager who joined Schalke from VfL Bochum four years ago.
He’s only played in the Champions League proper on five occasions – all cameo appearances during the 2013/14 and 14/15 seasons. It’s fair to say that if he’s to develop further with time, he’ll be eager to make a step-up and join one of Europe’s elite clubs.
Arsenal and Juventus can both offer Champions League football, with the prospect of winning silverware to boot. It could ultimately boil down to where he will get the most minutes as competition for places is stacked at both clubs at present.
Tomás Rincón (Genoa), Mario Lemina (Marseille) and Miralem Pjanic (Roma) have all joined Juve in the past six months, and you can argue that only the latter’s starting spot is justified with regularity at the moment.
There is plenty of competition for places in north London too. Although Granit Xhaka was Arsenal’s only midfield acquisition this past summer, there are a number of players who can play in a defensive-minded or central midfield role just like Goretzka.
He could be seen as a long-term successor to Santi Cazorla, who has signed a one-year contract extension but is currently injured: a common theme among Arsenal players at one time or another during the season. He’s definitely a talented player and one who would fit the Arsenal mould in midfield, but could very well signal the departure of at least one first-team player in a similar position.
A transfer fee of anywhere in the region of £20-35m would be reasonable for his services given the current market inflation with regard to prices, but again you’d have to assess whether Arsenal would be prepared to spend that much in direct competition with a European rival for his signature.