Arsenal transfer rumours: Spanish football expert David Cartlidge on Yannick Carrasco
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Arsenal have been linked with a move for Dalian Yifang winger Yannick Carrasco, although reports suggest the deal may now be off. Islington Gazette Arsenal reporter Dan Mountney spoke to David Cartlidge, Spanish football expert for ESPN, about Carrasco’s time at Atletico Madrid, and he revealed why missing out on him might not be a bad thing.
DM: What are Carrasco's strengths and weaknesses?
DC: "From a strength point of view, Carrasco's directness and ability to dribble at a high speed unsettles opponents. He's not only quick, but skilful too, the combination of which can be dangerous. However, he does come with plenty of flaws and they follow his strengths. Often he can overdo it on the ball and hasn't got the best decision making in the final third. From a defensive standpoint he's also careless."
DM: What were people's views of him while he was in Spain?
DC: "An immensely talented and exciting player, but one who had major flaws. Frustrating, is probably the best way to describe him in terms of a general view."
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DM: What was behind his move to China?
DC: "Carrasco really didn't want the move. It was more of a case of Atleti wanting him out and the money it would generate. He hadn't kicked on in his time at the club and there was a feeling the financial benefits were greater than his potential to improve."
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DM: Were Atleti fans sad to see him go?
DC: "Some were, because he was such an unpredictable presence. Atleti can be flat, uninspiring and lack ingenuity. Carrasco brought plenty of that. However, he hadn't really kicked on and had stagnated for some time. Therefore, not too many tears were shed when he did go."
DM: Do you believe moving to China should see his ability called into question, as some Arsenal fans have?
DC: "Not really. Good players go there, but for a variety of reasons. I don't really call in to question his ambition really. It's more his ability to apply himself to improving his game. The fact is he's a gifted player, but there are question marks over how much he wishes to progress. He's better than China, put it that way."
DM: At 25, do you believe he will continue to improve and how good could he be?
DC: "25 is no age really, and players have developed a lot later. He needs some good coaching and a mentality switch. He should be asking himself 'do I stay in China, earn some money and look good, or do I come back to Europe, and actually dedicate myself to applying this talent I have?' I'm not saying he can be a great player by any means, or even a key player, but he can offer something to a squad."
DM: At £25 million to £30 million, is that good value for money with Carrasco?
DC: "I think so. It's worth a risk. In that area of the market there isn't a great deal of talent, so giving him a chance wouldn't ruin the club by any means. Because of his ability, there will always be suitors."
DM: Do you think he will improve Arsenal and why?
DC: "Improve is a strong word. I just think he will add depth and potentially another type of outlet for the team. His style is aggressive in terms of his drives with the ball; that skill, close control and speed gives Arsenal an extra weapon in wide areas. Who is playing there now that really causes a lot of danger? I don't think Carrasco would be any worse than what is already there."