Since the promotion of RasenBallSport Leipzig to Germany’s top tier in 2016, arguably one of their key players has been Swede playmaker Emil Forsberg. A wide playmaker who operates mainly from the left-hand side of midifield has been a revelation since joining RB Leipzig in 2015 from Swedish club Malmo, I look at why Arsenal should be considering the underrated midfielder to fill the gap for the inevitable departure of Alexis Sanchez.
His Early Years
Born and raised in the Swedish city of Sundsvall, Emil followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by playing for the city’s club team, GIF Sundsvall; his father appeared for the club over 402 times over a 21-year period. Emil started his career at second tier side GIF Sundsvall in 2008 before finally making his first-team debut for the club in 2009 before going out on loan to Swedish third tier side, Medskogsbron SK but was recalled after just two matches. He started to make a name for himself in the Swedish second division in 2011 when he scored 11 times in 27 matches as Sundsvall were promoted to the first division.
After being relegated the following season, Sundsvall returned to the second tier and Forsberg joined Malmö in December 2012. He won the league title in his first season, scoring 5 times in 30 matches, but his most successful season in Sweden was in 2014-15 when he scored 14 times in 29 games as Malmö qualified for the Champions League. In January 2015, RB Leipzig came in for Forsberg and he was named 2. Bundesliga player of year in the 2015-16 season, helping the club join the Bundesliga for the first time.
Catching the Eye
His astonishing performances in Leipzig’s first Bundesliga season has alerted many suitors around Europe, recording 19 league assists, two short of Kevin De Bruyne’s record of 21, and creating 94 chances for his team-mates. His involvement in 27 goals across the 2016/17 season meant Leipzig qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history, and many people were drawn to Forsberg’s ability to control games from wide areas before coming inside. Summer rumours swirled that Liverpool, Manchester United and AC Milan were interested in the Swedish talisman’s services.
What Type of Player is He?
Forsberg’s vision, elegance on the ball and dribbling are the attributes which I feel would be a perfect replacement for Alexis Sanchez if/when he departs Arsenal. Forsberg is fluent in English and is a full international for Sweden, representing his country over 30 times, and having spent the last 3 years in Germany, his agent has hinted at a move for his client by claiming that current club RB Leipzig are “arrogant” and “destroying his dreams” by dismissing talk of a transfer, RBL CEO Oliver Mintzlaff ruled out his sale in the summer but it remains to be seen whether Forsberg would push for a move to one of the English clubs.
Would it be a Good Fit?
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil’s inevitable exits from the North London either in January or next summer mean the Gunners are going to have to find an extremely capable replacement for the two superstars (whose contracts both expire at the end of the season). Signing Forsberg before next summer’s World Cup would certainly go a long way to getting over the potential exits of their two big players. Hopefully his price tag shouldn’t be an issue if we were to agree terms, believed to be around the £45m mark, which in today’s market, would be a snip.
I think signing Emil Forsberg would be a fantastic start to what is a huge summer for Arsenal in 2018. The exits of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, Arsene Wenger’s supposed last year of his contract, the incoming of Marc Overmars as Director of Football Operations means there is a lot of uncertainty in the air in N5 currently. Signing Forsberg would be a good way to start building for a better future without Arsene Wenger, and with Marc Overmars potentially rejoining the club, this could certainly be the case.
The style of play that Arsenal are accustomed to could make it favourable for Forsberg to join, who is a dynamic, intelligent player who has fantastic ability to create chances and dictate the game from a wide position, but also the tendency to come centrally.
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter, @alexburns1088
Occasional writer who follows the Arsenal home and away. Dennis is our greatest ever.