According to reports in the Mirror, Arsenal are weighing up whether to submit a formal bid for up-and-coming defensive midfielder Sander Berge during the transfer window.
The 19-year-old Norwegian, currently playing his football for Genk in Belgium, has allegedly been scouted by Arsenal for a while now and the club are considering a permanent move to the Emirates.
And, with Sevilla, Monaco and Premier League rivals Everton also keeping one eye on the young midfielder’s situation, the Gunners could be keen to pounce and secure their man relatively soon.
Would the 19-year-old actually improve the current Arsenal side?
Sander Berge may not be the marquee signing that the majority of Arsenal supporters are awaiting this summer window but it could be a shrewd addition if he continues developing at his current rate.
Known for being a powerful defensive midfielder, he played an integral part of providing cover for a Genk defence that had the sixth-best record in the Belgian Jupiler League for the season just finished.
Despite only being 19 years old he has a lot of strength to battle with physical members of the opposition, with his tall-build leaving him well suited for the stubborn nature of the Premier League.
There’s an intelligence and a maturity to his play that is far beyond his young years too, with his positional sense in the middle of the field coming on very strongly during his spell playing first-team football in Belgium; he’s grown an instinctive nature to break up opposition play before it begins.
Add this to his exceptional ability to read the game and his strong, rugged and determined approach to the tackle and Berge really does look like a clever investment for the Gunners.
The Norwegian also feels at home on the ball – unlike some of Arsenal’s current crop of midfield options – and has a very accurate range of passing, always asking questions of opposition defences.
His preference of sitting deep could also allow the likes of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey to have more freedom in the middle of the park, giving them more opportunities to drive forward in attack.
Obviously the worry with signing Berge is that he’s not tried and tested in one of Europe’s top leagues, only playing in Belgium and Norway up to this point, and it could turn out to be a move too soon.
But with both Frances Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny, arguably, not good enough to be playing for a team that wants to challenge for Premier League and European titles, Berge could prove to be a useful squad player for the next few years whilst he continues his development as a budding defensive midfielder.