Following another impressive season for Norwich City, midfielder Emiliano Buendia is a target for Arsenal in this summer’s transfer window.
football.london understands that the Gunners are interested in Buendia, following the Argentine’s fine season for Norwich City, in which the Canaries won promotion to the Premier League, with Buendia scoring 15 goals and registering 16 assists in 39 Championship appearances.
The 24-year-old’s strong form has also seen him rewarded with a call up to the Argentina national team for the Copa America.
However, recent reports suggest that Aston Villa could rival Mikel Arteta’s side, with a report in the Daily Mail suggesting that Villa have the financial muscle to outbid the Gunners for Buendia this summer.
So, what if Arsenal did sign Buendia in the 2021 summer transfer window? And, what kind of impact could he have at the club next season?
To have a bit of fun and try to predict the future, we used Football Manager 2021 to see what could happen with Buendia at Arsenal next season.
We ‘signed’ Emiliano Buendia for Arsenal in the summer of 2021
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2021 editor to arrange for Norwich midfielder Emiliano Buendia to join Arsenal in the summer 2021 transfer window, using FM21 to run our simulation.
The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs, with data sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people, among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.
In addition, each annual iteration of Football Manager has built-in algorithms which check for outliers and data discrepancies. Data accuracy is further ensured by input from contributors who are active within the professional game (players, agents, etc.) who provide regular feedback.
We simulated the entire 2021/22 season on the game, to see what kind of impact the Argentine could have at the Emirates Stadium, from the summer transfer window onwards.
Before we go into the simulation, in addition to the manual signing of Buendia, there was lots of transfer activity in the summer of 2021.
The Gunners spent a total of £199 million in the 2021/22 campaign, with players like Ismael Bennacer (Milan), Manor Solomon (Shakhtar), Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Marcao (Galatasaray), Rony Lopes (Sevilla), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus) and a few others.
But Arsenal recouped £88 million through the sales of Lucas Torreira, Cedric, Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding, Willian, Calum Chambers, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (January), Mohamed Elneny and others.
Here’s what happened!
Emiliano Buendia‘s 2021/22 season for Arsenal
As a reminder, Buendia scored 15 goals and registered 16 assists in 39 Championship appearances for Norwich City during the 2020/21 campaign.
And in this simulated 2021/22 Premier League campaign, Buendia’s numbers for Arsenal were very similar.
The Argentine scored 15 goals and registered 10 assists in 35 Premier League appearances, also registering another assist in the FA Cup.
So on the face of it, Buendia was more of a goalscorer than a creative force for Arsenal under Arteta.
However, that was absolutely not the case, as a deep dive into the numbers show.
In fact, Buendia made more key passes and created more clear cut chances than any of his Arsenal teammates, and by a long way.
Buendia made 114 key passes and created 24 clear cut chances, with Bukayo Saka the second-most creative player with 63 key passes and 11 clear cut chances.
The problem for Buendia was that Arsenal didn’t have a reliable goalscorer in the squad.
Aubameyang’s form tailed off so much that he was eventually forced out in the January transfer window and Lacazette only managed 12 goals in all competitions, so Buendia ended up as the club’s top goalscorer in 2021/22.
Football Manager 2021 calculates every team’s best performing 11 at the end of every season, using a variety of key metrics.
Arsenal’s best team at the end of the 2021/22 season was as follows; Leno; Bellerin, Gabriel, Marcao, Tierney; Partey, Bennacer; Lopes, Buendia, Saka; Lacazette.
New signings Marcao, Bennacer, Lopes and Buendia all made it into the best performing eleven for Arsenal.
So, how did Arsenal perform in all competitions in our simulated season with Buendia and others in the team?
Here is how the final 2021/22 PL table looked in our simulation.
With Buendia and others being brought in, Arsenal managed a fifth-place finish in the Premier League, earning 65 points in 38 games and a return to the Europa League.
But, despite looking close to the top four in the table, Arsenal were actually 15 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.
Overall, Football Manager predicts that although Buendia would be a successful signing for Arsenal this summer, if the Argentine playmaker doesn’t have a quality striker to supply, the Gunners could again miss out on the top four next season.
Would you be happy to see Arsenal sign Emiliano Buendia this summer?
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Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. The latest edition of the game, FM21, is out now on PC, Mac, Mobile, Touch and Xbox.
The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs, with data sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people.
Among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.