Malcom could be Arsenal’s replacement for Alexis Sanchez, with the Gunners being heavily linked to the Ligue 1 star this month. But who is he? And is he worth the money?
The 20-year-old Bordeaux forward caught the eye with his performances in France and has emerged as Arsenal’s first choice replacement for Alexis this month.
With talk of a £44m deal being completed soon, one would think Arsenal are potentially getting a very exciting prospect. He certainly shows glimpses of his potential when you watch him play.
Malcom is everything you’d expect from a Brazilian forward: tricky, nimble and packing a powerful shot. Being a left-footed right winger allows him to come inside and shoot from distance, something he’s done to spectacular effect in his short career.
On the other hand, Malcom is also in the habit of taking speculative shots from bad areas, which has seen him waste a few opportunities. His biggest strengths are his ability to beat defenders and eye for a pass.
At Bordeaux, he has thrived on the counter attack, using his pace and trickery to breeze past opponents before looking for a through ball. Cutting inside and then playing a reverse pass through a defence is his favoured move, and something that could benefit Alexandre Lacazette.
He also has the ability to play as a left winger or just off the striker. Malcom is Bordeaux’s top scorer this season, with seven goals in 19 Ligue 1 appearances. Should they sell him for the touted price, they’ll make a significant profit, as they signed him as a teenager from Corinthians for just £4.5m in January 2016.
The large transfer fee would help Arsenal secure a work permit for him. Malcom has yet to represent the senior Brazil team, so would not immediately qualify for one. However, a big transfer fee and salary should earn him enough points to receive one on appeal.
As a young attacker, Malcom is already more productive than Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. The price is steep, and represents the rapid strides he’s made as a player this season.
He’s not the finished article, and will have to iron out some flaws in his game – most notably his poor right foot and habit of shooting from distance – to really live up to the price tag.
However, he’s a player who can create chances, while running at the opposition with pace, and possesses the skill to unlock defences. Such talent could prove to be very valuable in the right set-up.
Malcom might not be able to replace someone like Alexis Sanchez straight away, but he could certainly grow into the role if Arsenal are willing to invest the time and money.