The Gunners will face an uphill battle if they truly wish to pursue Colombia star Juan Cuadrado this summer, with the winger expressing his happiness in Florence.
The 26-year-old has attracted attention from the likes of Arsenal and Barcelona with his impressive performances at the World Cup, helping his country to the Last 16.
Despite rumours of his club future making headlines, he has reiterated his commitment to Fiorentina where he has flourished recently, and remains fully focused on Colombia’s promising World Cup campaign.
He told La Gazzetta dello Sport:
I’ve said and I repeat that I’m happy in Florence. My family are happy there too, but I’ll start thinking about my future only after the World Cup.
Things are only just beginning. [Fiorentina coach Vincenzo] Montella has been an important maestro for me. Up until a few years ago, I didn’t have the same coolness in front of goal.
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[On his reported valuation of €30 million] It’s a strange feeling. At first, I’d look at such figures and they would make me laugh. It seemed almost incredible, but now I’m happy. It means that I’ve won my battle, but it’s not going to go to my head.
Cuadrado still has three years left on his current deal with the Serie A outfit, and Fiorentina will fight tooth and nail to keep their star man since purchasing him outright from Udinese last week.
The club’s vice-president Andrea Della Valle understands it will be an uphill battle after his string of impressive displays in Brazil that has helped up his value but also put him on the map.
I’ll do all I can to keep him in Florence, but I know it’s going to be difficult.
But I’m experienced in dealing with cases like this one, and it is going to be our priority. Certainly the visibility he is getting at the World Cup is not helping, but I’ve not spoken to anybody yet and the transfer window has not even opened.
The Gunners have been linked with the winger in the past, with scouts reportedly sent out to watch his progress in Serie A this season. His unusual contractual situation with Udinese added another stumbling block in their initial interest, however now his value has almost doubled.
The Gunners require more pace and venom in attack, and in Cuadrado you have a developing attacker who could potentially play anywhere across the front three. Similarly to Walcott, he’s best at making runs in behind the defence rather than with his back to goal but has a bit of Gervinho about him – a lack of final product at times.
As he mentioned himself, the Colombian is developing that side of his game and could really push on under a manager like Arsene Wenger. But the Gunners will face stiff competition from Barcelona who are set to execute a serious rebuild of their squad.C
Although Cuadrado has been impressive this World Cup, it’s easy to get involved in the overhype. His performances have been decent in Serie A, but not worthy of a €30m move and seems overly inflated for the Gunners. They may be better to invest in more proven talent, even say Colombia’s Jackson Martinez who has been impressive during his time with Porto and is an out and out powerful striker. For me, I’d prefer Alexis Sanchez.
That said, I was impressed with his high work rate during the 45 minutes he played against Japan (which I was at the Arena Pantanal for), slotting a cool penalty and seemed to not leave his right back too exposed while getting forward. He’s also known for his defensive qualities which is certainly helpful for clubs like Arsenal who love their full backs to bomb forward and make those overlapping runs.
What are your thoughts Gooners? Do you think Wenger should spend big on Cuadrado or go for perhaps a more established, consistent player?