What’s the talk?
That’s according to a report by Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport (via The Metro), who claim that Edu has now held initial talks with the Juventus central midfielder’s agent, with the Serie A side believed to be willing to listen to offers between €20m (£17.5m) and €25m (£22m) plus add-ons for the 24-year-old.
However, the report goes on to suggest that the Gunners are not alone in their pursuit of the USMNT international, with Aston Villa, AFC Bournemouth, Fulham, Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco also thought to be keen on the playmaker, however, it would appear to be Mikel Arteta‘s outfit who are currently leading the race for McKennie.
Considering the undoubted ability McKennie quite clearly possesses, coupled with the fact that Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have previously worked wonders by signing a somewhat out of favour Juve midfielder in the shape of Rodrigo Bentancur, it is not difficult to understand why Arteta would be keen on a move for the American this month.
Indeed, over his 34 Serie A appearances in his debut campaign with the Old Lady back in 2020/21, the £31m-rated talent proved just how effective he can be from midfield, scoring five goals, registering two assists and creating five big chances, in addition to taking an average of 0.9 shots, making 0.8 key passes and completing 0.6 dribbles – at a success rate of 83% – per game.
The £54k-per-week maestro also caught the eye in metrics more typical of his position that season, making an average of one tackle, 0.8 interceptions, 0.7 clearances and winning 2.6 duels – at a success rate of 43% – per match, as well as playing an average of 0.7 long balls, 0.9 chipped passes and completing 18.9 total passes – at a success rate of 85% – per fixture.
These returns saw the 24-year-old who – Norwich City manager David Wagner dubbed a “leader” and Evan Cooper claimed would be an “absolute steal” for his asking price – average an extremely impressive Sofascore statistical rating of 6.86 back in 20/21.
Furthermore, McKennie’s positional versatility would also come as a huge boost to Arteta and his title hopefuls, with the former Schalke manager and current RB Leipzig boss Domenico Tedesco stating of the American back in 2018:
“Weston isn’t just important to us for his goals. Even during those phases when it’s not going so well, he embodies everything that we strive to stand for. He has a good mentality, he’s powerful, down-to-earth and works hard – and he can play as a six, eight or 10. As long as he continues to work hard and keeps his feet on the ground, he’ll only get better. He’s just great!”
As such, it is clear to see just how useful a player McKennie would be in the current Arsenal side, while Edu will undoubtedly be hoping that the 24-year-old could prove to become his own Bentancur-esque discovery – the £21.5m Spurs signing who currently ranks as the joint 25th-best player in the Premier League and has a market valuation of £53m – at The Emirates.