Arsenal reportedly set to make Yannick Carrasco their first summer signing

Unai Emery set to make Belgium international his first piece of summer business

It was a mixed first season in charge of Arsenal for Unai Emery, who almost steered the Gunners back into the Champions League.

A 5th placed finish and an appearance in the Europa League final represented a decent improvement on Arsene Wenger's final year in charge, but it still wasn't enough for them to make a return to European footballs elite.

Squad depth has been cited for this, with them particularly lacking out wide and in central midfield, which has led to links once again to Yannick Carrasco.

The Belgium international has been out in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Yifang for the last 18 months after making a big money move from Atletico Madrid, but it's believed that he's keen for a return to Europe.

Yannick Carrasco
Arsenal made an unsuccessful move for Carrasco back in January

Emery originally earmarked him as a target back in January but with the club only in the market then for loan arrivals, they couldn't get a deal over the line.

He's expected to cost around £30m which seems a rather modest fee for a player who's played in Champions League finals for a top club, but Emery is reportedly being given a budget of £45m, which seems ridiculous for a club as big as Arsenal.

So if this move comes to fruition it'll take a sizeable chunk out of the Spaniard's transfer kitty, but with Arsenal in desperate need of wingers and pace on the flanks, he could be worth the gamble.

A calculated gamble

When signing players from abroad with little or no Premier League experience it's always something of a gamble, but in the case of Yannick Carrasco it looks like one that's worth making.

Now at the age of 25, he's approaching the peak years of his career and would represent a sizeable upgrade on the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and more so Alex Iwobi, who've struggled in the wide areas for Arsenal this season.

The Gunners lack of options on the flanks even led to leading marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having to play on the left, so bodies are clearly needed. In Carrasco they'd getting someone versatile, he can play on either side and his skillset could see him become a real success in England.

He may have gone off the grid slightly since moving to China last January but his performances for Belgium, where he's still a regular, along with Atletico make him an extremely attractive proposition.

Unai Emery Arsenal
Carrasco could be the signing that helps take Arsenal to the next level

He has pace to burn, excellent dribbling ability and great vision which will be music to the ears of prolific striking duo Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who were both superb last term.

If he can strike up a good understanding with the pair then it could have a devastating effect on Premier League defences and it's a move that would certainly excite Gunners supporters.

The mooted transfer fee of £30m seems more than reasonable too, especially when you see some of the prices going around at the moment. Arsenal's squad lacks experience at the highest level so by getting in someone like Carrasco, a player who's played in a Champions League final and a World Cup, would certainly have a positive effect.

1/9 to make the move to Emirates

This deal is one that appears to have progressed significantly over the last few days if bookmaker odds are anything to go by, it could happen very soon as Carrasco's now priced as low as 1/9 to make the move to North London.

Everything points to this deal getting over the line and it would represent something of a coup to get him in, as he was very highly rated back in his Atletico Madrid days.

He fits within Arsenal's ridiculous transfer budget but if more are to join him in moving to the Emirates Stadium then it looks likely that they'll need to offload a few, so we should see a fair amount of activity in the capital.

Carrasco Hazard Belgium
Carrasco would add plenty of experience and big game knowhow to the Gunners squad

Odds suggest this move is close to completion and it would be Unai Emery's first signing of the summer. A central midfielder is expected to follow suit after the loss of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus on a free transfer which has left a big whole in their engine room.

The Wales international has been a key part of the Arsenal midfield over the last 11 years and the Gunners have missed out on a sizeable fee after allowing him to leave for nothing, identifying his replacement won't be easy.

But with the possible signing of Carrasco they have a tailor-made player to fill their understocked position on the flanks. He's very much in the mould of an Arsenal player. Flashy, quick, good on the ball and capable of producing the unexpected, we can see the fans soon warming to him.

This could prove to be one of the deals of the summer if it gets over the line, watch this space...

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