Arsenal: Malcolm could be Pepe 2.0
Arsenal’s stature in the game has taken a dramatic upturn after this season’s progress, however, they could be set to repeat the failures of the past this summer transfer window.
What’s the latest on Malcolm to Arsenal?
That is, if the claims from 90min are true, who suggests that sporting director Edu Gaspar holds an interest in signing Malcolm from Russian outfit Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Among the other clubs interested are Manchester City, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain, all of whom have been alerted to his availability after a stellar personal campaign.
Given his contract at the club is set to keep him there until 2027, they have unsurpisingly slapped a mouth-watering £40m price tag on the Brazilian. Such a fee for a player from the Russian league understandably draws reservations regarding his adaptability upon returning to Europe’s top five divisions.
How good is Malcolm?
Having first made a name for himself in Bordeaux, recording 19 goal contributions from the right flank in his final year in Ligue 1, the free-spending Barcelona were willing recipients of the mercurial attacker who seemed set to offer sensational backup to Lionel Messi.
However, it quickly became clear that the 26-year-old was far more accustomed to being the big fish in a small pond, and across just 24 games for the Catalan giants he would manage four goals.
His manager at the time, Ernesto Valverde, attempted to retain his faith in the trickster despite such poor form. He noted: “He’s a strong player to find solutions for the team and he obviously has a lot of speed on his shot. His shots are also a good weapon for us.”
Despite this glowing praise, an upturn in form never came. Zenit were the club to rescue him from this failed dream move, and he has since rewarded them with 26 goals and nine assists in all competitions this term.
Whilst these kinds of figures might be alluring for Edu and Mikel Arteta, it is easy to be fooled by fine performances in leagues far weaker than the Premier League.
The £72m club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe, who too was a left-footed right winger who starred in France, should act as a cautionary tale for such an outlandish swoop.
During his final year before moving to the Emirates, the Ivory Coast international scored 23 goals and assisted a further 12 in all competitions. Despite this, north London proved a step too far for the 27-year-old, who has since been branded a “shocking signing” by talkSPORT pundit Jamie O’Hara.
His 27 goals in 112 appearances serve to support this, with the trickster having since been sent out on loan and deemed surplus to requirements by Arteta.
Although valid cover for Bukayo Saka is needed in this upcoming window, for such a mouth-watering price the club will want reliable, tangible and immediate results.
Malcolm, for all his fine form this campaign, would not offer this. It’d be a Pepe repeat; something which Edu would be wise to steer well clear of.