The Stumbling Block That Might Stop Arsenal Signing Spanish International


Arsenal have been heavily linked with new Spanish international defender Mario Hermoso.

The move would make sense as the Espanyol centre-back is currently excelling in La Liga.

The twenty-three year old has helped his side keep five clean sheets in twelve games this season. He’s contributed defensively making around 1.7 tackles per game, 1.3 interceptions and a whopping 5.3 clearances. He’s also decent in the air and his aerial win stats are higher than Sokratis and Rob Holding.

The player himself sees his defensive attributes as being his main quality:

“Defending well. I am a defender and that is the main thing. Being aggressive and taking the ball well.”

If The Gunners are looking to strengthen in the winter transfer window, then a new centre-back and another right side forward would probably top their list.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery is also a Spaniard, so he’ll have been well informed when it comes to Mario. He’ll understand that he would offer plenty of potential. The Premier League side will no doubt know that the central defender has a release clause at a fee of £35m.

So where do the problems arise?

Well in terms of ability, Hermoso isn’t at his best when passing out of defence. We know Emery likes to see his defenders playing out of the back. He’d prefer better passing success stats than Mario’s 83%, all of The Gunners main central defenders have bettered that this term. Unai would want his players touching 90%.

Then there’s Real Madrid.

Espanyol bought Mario Hermoso from Los Blancos in 2017. It’s believed that the deal included a number of clauses including a £7.5m buy-back clause and a 50% sell on clause.

Now that the centre-back has received a call-up from national team boss Luis Enrique, Real will no doubt look at bringing the youngster back. It would even make more sense that they sign him for the cut-price fee and then sell him on for around £35m or £40m. They did that before with Alvaro Morata and I bet that’s why the brought back Mariano from Lyon in the summer.

You’ve also got to believe that the Spanish giants won’t sell him straight away either. They’ll probably give him until the summer to prove himself at the Bernabeu. Madrid’s defence has been pretty poor this season, eleven sides have conceded less in than Real’s sixteen in La Liga during this campaign. So new coach Santiago Solari might believe that Mario can help solve that current defensive issue.

While I can see the reasoning in Arsenal’s interest, I believe the transfer could become overly complicated. I’m also not sure Mario Hermoso would be the club’s best option given Unai Emery’s playing style. But it’s a deal I will keep an eye on!

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