Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Fares Chaibi in the January transfer window.
The 19-year-old playmaker from Toulouse has impressed in Ligue 1 this season to catch the eye of the Gunners. The Premier League club is believed to have sent scouts to France to watch Chaibi in Toulouse’s 2-2 home draw against Strasbourg in October. The teenager started that league match in front but is capable of playing in various positions.
Spanish team Sevilla are also believed to be interested in Chaibi, while Algeria are considering calling him up. The youngster is of Algerian descent but is also eligible to play for France, as he was born in Lyon. He has yet to win international honors at any level.
Who is Fares Chaibi?
According to Foot Mercato, Arsenal have taken the shine off Chaibi. It’s easy to see why, as he has been deployed in midfield, attacking midfield, on the wings and as a centre-forward this season. As such, he could provide a good cover for Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
Arteta may decide to plunge into the transfer market in January to increase his team’s chances of winning the Premier League title. He is currently five points behind the favorite and champions Manchester City, and it will be difficult for him to maintain his position.
Some critics worry that signing a proven and experienced winner could upset the apple cart in the Emirates. At only 19 years old, Chaibi is less likely to do that. Arteta can see him as a promising young player who can be molded to suit his style of play.
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Arsenal have embarked on a policy of signing youngsters, as Ben White, Martin Odegaard and Takehiro Tomiyasu have arrived in recent years. They have also promoted talented players from their academy, including Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
In addition to being versatile, Chaibi has good natural attributes. The teenager is fast and 6-foot tall, but he also has technical talent. That has helped him score two goals and provide four assists from a variety of positions this season, helping Toulouse sit safely in 12th place.
Chaibi began his career at FC Lyon, not to be confused with French giants Olympique Lyonnais. He was signed by Toulouse in 2019 and handed over his first professional contract in February. Lyon to Toulouse is about a five and a half hour drive.
The teenager is the brother of Ilyes Chaibi, who is also a footballer. The 26-year-old striker came through the Monaco youth academy and enjoyed spells in Austria and Morocco before spending three years at France’s Thonon Evian. He now plays in Switzerland.
“We know where we are at the moment,” Arteta said earlier this month when asked about Arsenal’s transfer plans. We also know that we have certain injuries, and the squad is very, very short. We have tried to manage that in the best possible situation.
“It’s the same when we win a football game, so there are no excuses. I said from day one that we have a short team because at the end [of the summer] we let some players [go]. It’s what we have. If everyone is available and no one is hurt, we’re fine.”