Arsenal’s aspirations of signing Norwich City architect-in-chief Emiliano Buendia this summer have come to an end.
After several months of keeping a close eye on the Argentine’s development, Arsenal have been beaten by Aston Villa in the race to sign the highly talented 24-year-old, who claimed the Championship Player of the Season award this season.
A statement released by Villa on Monday morning confirmed that they had struck an agreement with the Premier League newcomers to sign the former Getafe man this summer.
The statement released by the Midlands outfit said: “Aston Villa and Norwich City have reached an agreement for the transfer of Emiliano Buendia.
“As Emiliano is currently in the Argentina national team’s biosecure bubble, preparing for a World Cup qualifying match with Colombia on Tuesday evening, he will undergo a medical and complete the transfer after the game.”
Buendia’s impending switch to Villa Park has meant that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, alongside technical director Edu, has been forced to go back to the drawing board as far as his plans for the summer are concerned.
Although the Gunners have plans to draft in five new signings this summer, signing an attacking-midfielder who will add creativity and flair to the squad is thought to be their top priority, with their main intention being to bring Martin Odegaard back to the club. The Norway international spent the second half of this term on loan at the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid and produced his fair share of impressive performances, so much so that the Gunners now want to re-sign him, whether it be on another loan deal or on a permanent basis.
But with Madrid having recently appointed Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager, questions remain unanswered about Odegaard’s future in the Spanish capital.
But it seems that Arsenal are prepared to keep their options open. That is because, according to reports in Germany, the Gunners are ready to reignite their interest in Borussia Dortmund attacking-midfielder Julian Brandt. Prior to landing Odegaard back in January, Brandt was closely linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium as a possible option to replace Mesut Ozil.
However, no deal ever came to fruition. But with Dortmund now reportedly ready to sell the Germany international this summer, could Arsenal make a fresh move to lure him to north London?
If they were to do just that, Arteta would be tasked with sparking Brandt’s club career back into life after a disappointing 2020/21 campaign. The 25-year-old scored just four goals and claimed two assists in 45 appearances this term, highlighting just how underwhelming his campaign was.
But like all footballers, Brandt will be hoping this season was a blip, because underneath those statistics there is a genuine talent there, as highlighted by Chelsea midfield star Kai Havertz in 2020. Before Brandt joined Dortmund, he played alongside Havertz at Bayer Leverkusen and the pair were both tipped to achieve great things in their careers from a very young age.
Havertz, speaking ahead of a clash between Leverkusen and Dortmund last year, told Kicker: “I wrote to him [Brandt] on Tuesday after the game. That will be enough.
“[Jadon] Sancho and [Erling Braut] Haaland don’t play too badly, but he’s the best player at Dortmund at the moment.”
Admittedly, since Havertz made that statement both Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland have come on in leaps and bounds in their own progress and overtaken Brandt as individual talents. But for Havertz to have considered him as better than those two speaks volumes about what he is capable of doing when at full throttle and playing with a spring in his step.
It is not just Havertz, either, that is a big fan of Brandt’s talents, with PSV Eindhoven midfielder Mario Gotze, who played alongside Brandt for a time at Dortmund, also an admirer of his qualities.
“I think Julian Brandt is very, very good,” Gotze said back in 2019 following Brandt’s arrival at Signal Iduna Park. “I got to know him with the national team and I think he can bring us to a higher level again – especially when you see his achievements from last season.
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“He can bring us forward on the wings as well as in the centre. It’s a very good transfer for Borussia Dortmund.”
Since joining Dortmund ahead of the 2019/20 season, Brandt has played 87 times for the club, scoring 11 goals and claiming 15 assists, proving that his first season in yellow far was more fruitful than the one that has just finished.
Brandt is under contract until 2024 at the Bundesliga giants and is valued at £22.5million, meaning Dortmund are likely to make their money back if he does seal an exit, as they landed him for just over £21m two years ago.
If Arsenal were to sign him this summer, it would see him link up with fellow countryman Bernd Leno.