by Mosope Ominiyi
According to reports in the London Evening Standard, Arsenal are set to make a move for AS Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho – who has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League for a number of seasons now.
It appears as though this summer, he’ll finally get to play in the English top flight. However, Arséne Wenger’s side face competition from north London rivals Tottenham, who are also interested in the Portuguese international’s signature.
Spurs, who have just freed up space in their midfield by selling Benjamin Stambouli and Paulinho to Paris Saint-Germain and Guangzhou Evergrande respectively for a combined total of £15million pounds, are looking for that extra added quality, which Moutinho would certainly give them.
Moutinho, who turns 29 before the end of this year, has struggled to make much of a splash in France following his £20million pound move from FC Porto in the summer of 2013, scoring five goals and creating eight in 52 appearances last term.
Moutinho’s a proven player with plenty of experience, something that Wenger is desperate for in midfield to perhaps partner Francis Coquelin in front of the backline. In the UEFA Champions League alone, he’s totalled 44 appearances playing for Sporting, Porto and Monaco.
After missing out on Juventus’ Arturo Vidal, whose move to Bayern Munich is imminent, as well as Manchester United’s new signing Morgan Schneiderlin, a deal to sign Moutinho may possibly raise a few eyebrows.
For one, he’s not getting any younger. Secondly, the club have plenty of midfielders at the moment, signing him would just mean more competition for places. And last but not least, £14million is a fairly significant fee for someone who is not automatically guaranteed a place in the starting eleven every week.
He’d be a solid signing, no doubt. But with a rumoured tug-of-war on the cards for his services, would Wenger be willing to pay over the odds?
My inkling is that, if a deal were to be done, it should have been finalised when he was still at Porto. Arguably one of the best central midfielders in Europe at the time, but now? The jury’s out.