Ray Parlour, a former Arsenal star, urged the club to pass on signing Cristiano Ronaldo in the January transfer window after the Portuguese forward’s contract with Manchester United was mutually terminated.
Parlour told SportsLens that the Portuguese international does not put in enough effort to be an effective member of the Gunners’ system.
Given the recent injury to Gabriel Jesus, the squad has to add a top-tier striker if they want to keep their Premier League title ambitions alive, and the former England international has made this statement.
“I wasn’t in favour of bringing Ronaldo in, certainly not before Jesus got injured because he won’t want to be sitting on the bench again. I know he scores the goals, but Ronaldo won’t bring the energy of Jesus by any means. I don’t think he’ll work hard enough.
“He still is a very good player but will he fit into Arsenal’s system the way they play now? I don’t see it. I’d be amazed if it happens, but if it did, then you’d have to just get behind it as an Arsenal fan and back the team.”
Parlour recommended that the Gunners make a move for Brentford striker Ivan Toney, who consistently demonstrated outstanding goal-scoring quality.
“The problem you’re going to have in January is who’s available? I’ve always said Ivan Toney of Brentford. I’d go and try to get him if I could. I don’t think you’ll get him in this window, but he’s who I’d go for. I think he’s similar to Ian Wright the way he plays and scores his goals. I know Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach could be available because his contract is up at the end of the year.
“I know Edu went to see the Arsenal owners last week and I’m sure he would’ve mentioned the situation and said we might need to bolster our attacking options at centre forward now. It’s such a shame because although Jesus wasn’t banging goals in, he was creating so much. I heard it was only three weeks initially but now it’s seemingly three months which is obviously a much bigger issue.”
Parlour has said that the Gunners should not hesitate to sign Marcus Thuram from Borussia Mönchengladbach if the striker is available.
“I know Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach could be available because his contract is up at the end of the year. I do know Edu was looking for a winger/forward when I spoke to him in preseason.
He said, “He wanted a winger who could get past someone and offer something a bit different to what they’ve got presently; someone pacy like a Marc Overmars; that’s what I’d be seeking to bring in.”
But he argued that even with Eddie Nketiah as the team’s striker, they might not be able to pull off a Premier League title.
“I really like Eddie Nketiah. I think he’s great to bring off the bench but he’s not Gabriel Jesus is he? That’s the problem you’re going to have.
“I know Jesus hasn’t scored for a while for Arsenal but he brings so much to the team in terms of his work rate and link up play. He never gives up and his intense pressing makes it easier for the midfield behind him to win the ball back. Gabriel Martinelli could be an option through the middle as well with his energy.”
Similarly, Arsenal defender William Saliba will return to the Gunners healthy and refreshed if he does not start for France at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as stated by Parlour.
“It has surprised me [Saliba’s lack of action] and I was also surprised Gabriel didn’t get a look in for Brazil as well because partnerships are so important and those two have been great for Arsenal. But it just shows you the depth that France have. The coach has gone with the experience of Varane alongside Konate so Saliba will have to bide his time.
“Saliba has been excellent for Arsenal but Deschamps is trusting those he knows and has seen more of you’d imagine. But Arsenal need to get Saliba signed up to a new contract because it looked at one point that he’d be off. But he’s stayed and flourished so Arsenal must keep him there as long as they can now.”