Emmanuel Petit believes Allan Saint-Maximin could be a ‘revelation’ at Arsenal with the Gunners looking for alternatives after missing out on Mkyhailo Mudryk.
Arsenal saw three bids rejected by Shakhtar Donetsk this month with the winger sealing a £88million move to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Mikel Arteta is still keen to strengthen his attacking options with his side eight points clear at the top of the Premier League following Sunday’s north derby win.
Barcelona winger Raphinha, who Arsenal tried to sign in the summer, has emerged as one option but reports in Spain suggest the player is unlikely to seek a move mid-season.
Petit, part of the Arsenal side that won the double in 1997/98, was relieved to see Arsenal walk away from the deal for Mudryk following Shakhtar’s huge demands.
The former midfielder suggests Newcastle star Saint-Maximin could be a viable alternative, believing he could go onto shine in north London with some slight improvements to his decision-making.
‘I have a player in mind, but I’m not sure he can fit in Arteta’s system in terms of the player’s mentality,’ Petit told .
‘Alan Saint-Maximin at Newcastle. Since Eddie Howe has changed his system, he prefers to play Joelinton in his position at the moment and he is playing well – he is a much better midfield player than a striker. He has benched Saint-Maximin.
‘If Saint-Maximin can improve his decision-making and do the right things at the right moments, just like Martinelli, I can imagine him being a revelation at Arsenal. He has so much pace and makes the difference with the ball at his feet. One against one, he is fearless when he faces defenders.
‘How will he respond to being on the bench at Newcastle? I’m pretty sure at the end of the season if his situation is the same, there will be some big talks between him and Newcastle. Maybe there is an opportunity for Arsenal if he is unhappy or unsettled. He is not the first name on the team sheet anymore and he was the star at the club before everything changed. Now he is on the bench. Football moves fast.’
Petit also believes the club should be exploring a possible move for Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha, whose contract at Selhurst Park expires at the end of the season. The World Cup winner also named Brighton’s Pascal Gross as a player he could offer Arteta ‘lots of different tactical options’ too.
‘I’ve also been told that Raphinha is on the club’s radar, but I also like Zaha as an option,’ Petit said. ‘The way Arsenal play, Arteta wants wingers that can make the difference with their pace and dribbling skills. These types of players would be very good additions for Arsenal.
‘I also really like Pascal Gross at Brighton. I think he is a very good player. He is very intelligent and is a proper team player. He is dedicated to the team performance and sacrifices himself. He can offer a lot of different tactical options too.’
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