Arsenal are being linked with Villarreal attacker Samuel Chukwueze after Gunners cult hero and Yellow Submarine ace Santi Cazorla confirmed that the Emirates Stadium side have been in touch regarding the 20-year-old (Marca).
Cazorla, who left Arsenal after six years to return to Villarreal in 2018, plays alongside Nigeria international Chukwueze and Spain international Pau Torres, both of whom are believed to be on the Gunners’ radar.
Spanish outlet Marca asked the veteran playmaker if he gets many calls from England regarding the duo and he replied: “Yes, friends from Arsenal especially.
“They ask me about them and think they can make the jump to the Premiership tomorrow. It’s good that great teams are interested in young players from Villarreal, but for the moment I tell them to leave them alone here.”
Chukwueze has been progressing nicely at Villarreal in recent months, with 26 appearances in all competitions this term yielding four goals and four assists, plus 12 caps for Nigeria and two goals (Transfermarkt).
Last season, meanwhile, he registered double figures for the club, making 47 appearances between the senior team and the B team, with 10 goals and four assists (Transfermarkt).
Interestingly, Arsenal could have reportedly snapped Chukwueze up for just £4million back in 2015, months after Nigeria’s victory at the Under-17 World Cup; the player – at the time part of the Diamond Football Academy, even “spent time at the Emirates”, according to Guardian Nigeria.
The move ended up falling through as Arsenal reportedly spurned the chance following disagreement on the £4million deal, and Chukwuele ended up joining Villarreal, now valued at £60million by the La Liga club, according to the Daily Mail.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing in football – what if Robert Lewandowski had joined Blackburn in 2011? What if Gareth Bale had joined Birmingham after initially struggling at Spurs? And what if Chelsea had hung onto Mohamed Salah, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne?
However, such quirks aren’t as straightforward, with many variables involved, and with that said, clubs will not let the past concern them, and rather look at the present and future.
Now Chukwueze has developed into a bona fide attacking ace, the question is – would he be a good buy for Arsenal at the reported £60million fee, given his talent, attitude, work ethic, usefulness to the team, and future potential? At present, it would seem like a no-brainer.