Arsenal have scouted Norwich’s Emi Buendia “extensively” but are unlikely to make a January bid for the Argentine playmaker despite their search for a new creative midfielder, according to claims.
The 24-year-old has been a star turn for Norwich since joining from Getafe for around £1.3million and was named Player of the Season in his debut campaign as the Canaries won promotion.
Buendia only produced one goal and seven assists in 36 Premier League matches last season but just three players created more chances than the South American, who racked up 83.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne created by far the most goalscoring opportunities with 136 while Jack Grealish of Aston Villa mustered 91 and Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold managed 87.
And he has continued his creative form into 2020-21, while also adding more goals, since Norwich’s drop back down to the Championship.
Buendia has contributed six goals and seven assists – the joint-best in the league alongside Reading’s Michael Olise – in 18 second division outings this term.
Arsenal are on the hunt for a new No 10 with Mesut Ozil exiled from the squad and set to leave once his contract expires in the summer.
Norwich’s Buendia, a former Argentina under-20 international, is one player on their radar but Goal’s Charles Watts says a January swoop is not expected.
That’s despite the Gunners having heavily tracked the player’s progress at Carrow Road in recent seasons, with Buendia a renowned chance creator – the type Mikel Arteta’s men lack.
Watts said on his YouTube channel: “Emi Buendia at Norwich is another I get a lot of questions about, a player Arsenal certainly do like and who they’ve scouted extensively and watched an awful lot of the last few years.
“They haven’t made a move for him yet and it remains to be the case as far as I’m aware despite plenty of talk and rumours on social media. I don’t think Arsenal have made any move for Buendia.
“He’s represented by the same people who represent Emi Martinez so Arsenal have a very good relationship with his representatives and he’s playing in the Championship, he’d obviously be open to a move to Arsenal or the Premier League should that happen in January.
“But Norwich are not going to let him go for cheap, they want to come back up and he’s going to be key and influential to that. I don’t think Buendia’s one that would happen in January.”
Discussing Arsenal’s plans for the January window this week, Mikel Arteta said that the Londoners are eager to offload out-of-favour players.
Selling players will help raise cash for Arteta to bring in fresh quality with the Gunners’ finances restricted following the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of Champions League football over the past five years.
He said: “We have a large squad. We knew that. A lot of things that should have happened in the summer we could not accomplish them for different reasons.
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“There are a lot of players that are going to go on loan. They are going to leave. And that’s the priority at the moment because we cannot sustain the numbers that we have in certain positions.
“We are looking to do that. And then we will see if we have the right opportunities in the positions that we need some more help we are working with the club to try to address them.
He also added: “Obviously financially it’s not only us, it’s every club in the Premier League that have been in hit with big numbers [because of the coronavirus pandemic].
“We know that this is not going to change in the last year or so. That we are gonna have to add somehow if we’re going to improve the team in different ways financially with some support.
“And we will decide whether this is with loans or buying players in relation to the opportunities we will have in the market.”
Arsenal could instead look to sign Isco from Real Madrid on loan this month with Lyon’s Houssem Aouar likely to be too expensive.