Arsenal are no strangers to taking Chelsea’s unwanted players off their hands (sorry Gunners fans) and Tammy Abraham could be the next in line to swap Stamford Bridge for the Emirates Stadium.
David Luiz, Willian and Petr Cech have all made the short trip from west to north London in recent times, and Mikel Arteta is keen to add to that list by thrashing out a deal for Abraham in the coming weeks.
The Blues have slapped a whopping £40m price tag on their academy graduate’s head, but would he be a good fit for the Gunners and what would he bring to the side?
Once described as ‘the future of Chelsea’ by former boss Antonio Conte, it’s hard to argue that Abraham has done much wrong prior to being deemed surplus to requirements at the club.
The England international has finished the Blues’ top scorer in both of the last two seasons – despite playing a bit-part role for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign – but with Chelsea desperate to land world-class striker Erling Haaland, it’s basically just a case of him not quite being at the level his side are looking for.
But that’s not to say he’s not a good frontman at all. Abraham’s ability to link-up play with the midfield as well as running the channels was a key aspect of Chelsea’s impressive first season under Frank Lampard, while he’s got the pace and close control to beat a man when dropping deep.
One glimpse of the forward will have lazy pundits suggesting he’s just a big man who can lead the line for his team, but in actual fact his heading ability is probably one of the weakest facets of his game given his height.
The 23-year-old isn’t the kind of striker who’ll pin himself to a centre-half and look to battle with him all game and shove him about, instead he tends to drop into pockets of space behind the opposition’s midfield in a bid to get himself on the ball and showcase his technical ability.
While this style of play wouldn’t suit some teams, if you’ve got wide forwards with the ability to run in behind – players like Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe just off the top of our heads – Abraham’s ability to find space and link up with his teammates can be a big threat.
One part of Abraham’s game which does need to improve is his finishing. Despite ending the last two seasons as Chelsea’s top scorer, the youngster is by no means a natural-born finisher, and even his best top-flight tally of 15 in the 2019/20 season saw him miss a host of simple chances.
That being said, he never looks to hide behind others and continues to get himself into the areas where he’s most dangerous, and this is another quality attribute he can bring to the Arsenal team.
Of course footballers will be judged on their ability on the field rather than off it, but for such a young man, whenever Abraham is talking in front of the cameras there’s a presence and a maturity about him – something he displays on the pitch – and that’s something the current Arsenal squad sorely need.
The Gunners have been labelled as weak and have been told they lack leaders for a number of years, criticisms that are hard to argue against when you consider the perennially hot-headed Granit Xhaka to be one of their leaders.
Abraham’s maturity and leadership could be key for Arsenal both on and off the field, and at just 23 years of age he’s got plenty of time to develop as a player and should be able to smooth over the rough edges in his game.
Accepting that your London rivals are on another level to your club and you’ve basically just started buying all of their cast offs is a bitter pill to swallow, but Arsenal’s pursuit of Abraham should be viewed as so much more than that.
Signing an England international with plenty of time to improve and develop his game should be seen as a positive move from the Gunners and Abraham could be central to Arsenal’s plans for years to come.