Ross Barkley looks certain to leave Everton this summer, but he’s not someone who’s needed at Arsenal.
Is Ross Barkley what Arsenal need?
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder established himself as a regular in the Everton first team during the 2013/14 season.
As is the case with a lot of young English players, he looked like a star in the making. He was a midfielder that combined smart movement with explosive dribbling and shooting; one capable of the spectacular in a position England didn’t have a lot of talent in.
Predictably, Barkley hasn’t pushed on as people expected him to.
Like many of the English talents before him, his mental development has lagged behind his physical development. What we see now is a player who can carry the ball up the field, but can’t pick the correct pass at the crucial moment, and a player who can receive the ball in dangerous areas but take too long to make a decision.
For every one brilliant moment, you get five awful ones.
At Arsenal, decision making is a crucial element in the way they play. Players are expected to be able to spot and execute the right pass quickly while under pressure. The standard is set by the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, who are both effortless passers of the ball. With Barkley in the team, it’s easy to see Arsenal play being slowed down. While Alexis Sanchez can frustrate many with his decision making, his raw ability more than compensates for it.
Barkley has yet to reach such a point in his career, and could only ever do so under a manager with the patience to nurture him. Arsene Wenger may have that patience, but would struggle to find a place in his team for him. He’d only be a backup to either Ozil or Alexis, and doesn’t posses the work rate or defensive discipline to play as one of the two central midfielders.
Even if players were to leave, there are a number of more preferred targets to go through – the likes of Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez – before you’d even consider Barkley.
Arsenal currently need players that can come in and perform straight away. Barkley is a player with a lot of potential, but not one who could come in and improve the starting eleven immediately. He’s someone you might take a gamble on if he was going for a good price and not £40m, or if we have exhausted all other options.
If Arsenal can’t sign someone like Lemar or Mahrez, and are in desperate need of another attacker, they could go Barkley. Otherwise, there’s no reason why Barkley would be a priority when there are better attackers out there.