Arsenal's failed pursuit of Emiliano Buendia is well-documented. We seemed to have been on his case but Emi opted to go to Aston Villa - who reportedly paid a higher fee and offered better personal terms.
However, a Gooner on Twitter gave a detailed explanation why Buendia does not fit the profile Arsenal are looking for. We can only doff our hats to this level of analysis. Keep in mind he released his thread before Buendia joined Villa and there was still a chance he'd go to Arsenal.
nonewthing: "Arsenal play a 4231 system where the LW occupies the left half-space and the left-back (Tierney) pushes up high to dominate the flank. It is on the other flank that things get more interesting. The RW (Saka) is expected to stay out wide while the AM (ESR) fills the right half-space.
"Since Tierney is overlapping, the pivot LCM (Xhaka) is expected to act as a fulcrum and stay back to protect the space left behind by the dynamic Scotsman. This leaves a single CM (Partey) left to control the entire midfield. So the RB (Bellerin) is not expected to overlap wide since the RW is already wide. Rather, the RB is to 'underlap' inside to the midfield to join Partey so that there will be enough control in the middle.
"This setup is not rigid and rotations are common where the RW goes inside while the RB overlaps (with AM dropping to midfield). Or, less commonly, the AM interchanges and overlaps to allow the RW go inside while the RB remains in midfield. This provides a constant 2-3-5 formation for Arsenal in settled possession (CB, CB/ CM, CM, RB/ LB, RW, ST, AM, RW).
"Why is Buendia's signing then problematic?
"It comes from the right-backs Arsenal are being linked to. All of Hakimi, Lamptey, Aarons are all leggy, overlapping fullbacks like Kieran Tierney. They are not exactly technical, inverted RBs like Cancelo or Chambers. They can be inverted but it's not ideal for their profiles.
"Hakimi, for instance, can play as an inverted RB but it means that you lose his biggest asset: his stupendous PnP and attacking prowess. There is no point in wanting him just to play an inverted role unless you are a super club. This is why City spent a lot on Cancelo.
"So, basically, Arsenal are being mostly linked to dynamic, overlapping right-backs just like Kieran Tierney. This means that Arteta wants the right-back to be a part of the last 5 up top with Tierney (LB, LW, ST, RW, RB), which means that Saka gets to play more as an inside-forward.
"The 2-3-5 formation, like I already said, is not rigid at all. Plenty of rotations in it, such that Saka gets to play as an inside-forward like Salah in the right half-space while the RB overlaps. We have seen the RB overlapping many times this season.
"This suggest that Arteta might intend to move into a similar formation to Liverpool. In this formation, with an overlapping RB instead of an inverted one, there is little space for the 3rd midfielder, the AM (ESR), to push forward, meaning that he has to play deeper.
"As I have already detailed in another informative thread, Emile Smith-Rowe is extremely capable of playing as an 8. His PnP and ability to thrive under pressure in small spaces allows him to fulfill a role like Wjnaldum's or Curtis Jones' for Liverpool.
"Smith-Rowe fits the profile for the 3rd CM. So does Joe Willock. We will no longer have a 10 in this system, except in phases of games or matches where Arteta goes back to the 4231. Basically, we will be playing with 3 central midfielders. We are now being linked to CMs more.
"Camavinga, Bissouma, Lokonga, Berge are all multiple links that suggest that Arteta very well intends to move to 3 CMs. Let's not forget that Joe Willock is perfect for this system, too, as well as the highly rated Miguel Azeez. Even Houssem Aouar profiles well as a CM, too.
"Joe Willock is perfect for this system along with Smith-Rowe because you want the 3rd CM to be able to sometimes attack the box from deep, especially when you need a goal. Wjnaldum does this for Liverpool and Willock is proven at it, so is Smith-Rowe.
"Buendia's signing complicates all of this. He is a 10 who is defensively active but is definitely not as capable as our current options at playing as a CM. Even if we persist with the 4231, Buendia still complicates things because he, like Odeegard, doesn't overlap.
"If Buendia doesn't overlap in our current system, it means that Saka, one of the most talented young forward in the game, will be forced to carry water as a wide winger instead of coming inside to cause damage like Mohammed Salah. Saka will still dutifully carry water, though.
"However, it is simply not the best use of the youngster, not after what we have seen from him before an hip injury temporarily limited his effectiveness in front of goal. When you see a potential star forward like Saka, you simply let them stay closer to the goal.
"Buendia is a good player, don't get me wrong. But he is going to complicate things for
- Saka's impact
- ESR's minutes
- Willock's potential
- Our potential overlapping right-back
- A system with Liverpool-esque dominance potential
- Not to talk of his fee, on top.
"Football is a simple game. We are close to having a system that can ensure proper dominance + youth products with stratospheric potential impact and all of it can be jeopardized by a good player who is going to be expensive, risky and can't get into his national side.
"Can things still work out with his signing? Yes. But that would mean that we are going to be more inefficient at maximizing our financial resources and playing assets. Even on the bench as an impact sub, Buendia will have jeopardized our ability to have signed a Camavinga.
"Getting Bissouma/Camavinga + Berge + Lokonga is much more impactful and of maximal advantage. It means Willock will more than get a chance and Saka will become a guaranteed superstar almost overnight. It also means we don't have to recruit a rare, restricted inverted right-back."