Mikel Arteta blocked Arsenal from signing Tottenham Hotspur star Emerson Royal at the last moment
Tottenham struck a deadline-day deal with Barcelona worth £26m for Emerson Royal. The Brazilian has remained unchallenged for the right-back role under Antonio Conte because of the enormous performance drop of Matt Doherty.
After making 25 appearances in this campaign, the drawbacks of his performances have started emerging, which suggested that the 23-year-old is far away from other top-class performers in his position.
Before Spurs signed him in the summer, Arsenal were strongly considering a move for Emerson, which their data analytics department backed. It is believed that the Gunners’ technical director Edu was in advanced talks with Barcelona and the deal was within their reach.
However, Mikel Arteta was not sold out by the qualities of the full-back and ‘passionately’ communicated his understanding with the board and put an end to the pursuit.
What to make of Emerson so far?
Our North London rivals were aware that he would join us if they missed out on Emerson. However, they chose to take that risk and signed Takehiro Tomiyasu instead in the summer.
Spurs’ board won the transfer battle in the end, but there was shock amongst Barcelona’s hierarchy to understand our approach to paying the hefty sum.
Emerson Royal did show some good performances in this campaign; however, his qualities have remained limited compared to top performers like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, or Reece James.
Defensively, our manager mainly depended on the three centre-backs in the backline, and the Brazilian leaves a lot to be asked for when tracking back at times. In attacking transitions, the 23-year-old has shown some good crossing abilities, but the efficiency isn’t really world-class.
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At this point, it is fair to say Emerson has still not justified the amount that we paid for him in summer, but that could be a product of his slow adaptation to the league, which many players face.
It remains to be seen what influence Antonio Conte creates in order to get the best out of the star who was once a top-notch player at Real Betis. However, having him wouldn’t solve our problems as we are still lacking depth in the wing-back positions. Nevertheless, we took the gamble with him and it is now down to our management to get the best out of what they have been provided. He is certainly not a shocking signing who is consistently a flop, and at 23, there is still time before he can hit his peak years.