Former Arsenal star, Ray Parlour has urged the Gunners to turn down the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in January transfer window following the termination of his Manchester United contract by mutual consent.
In a chat with SportsLens, Parlour noted that the Portuguese international does not work hard enough to fit the Gunners’ system.
The former England international stated this on the backdrop of Gabriel Jesus’ injury and the need for the team to sign a quality striker capable of keeping their Premier League title hopes alive.
”I wasn’t in favour of bringing Ronaldo in, certainly not before Jesus got injured because he won’t want to be sitting on the bench again. I just don’t think he’ll work hard enough. I know he scores the goals but Ronaldo won’t bring the energy of Jesus by any means.
“He still is a very good player but will he fit into Arsenal’s system the way they play now? I don’t see it. I’d be amazed if it happens but if it did then you’d have to just get behind it as an Arsenal fan and back the team.”
With another growing interest on Brentford striker, Ivan Toney. who has consistently shown great goal scoring quality, Parlour advised the Gunners to make a move for the striker.
“The problem you’re going to have in January is who’s available? I’ve always said Ivan Toney of Brentford. I’d go and try to get him if I could. I don’t think you’ll get him in this window but he’s who I’d go for. I think he’s similar to Ian Wright the way he plays and scores his goals. I know Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach could be available because his contract is up at the end of the year.
“I know Edu went to see the Arsenal owners last week and I’m sure he would’ve mentioned the situation and said we might need to bolster our attacking options at centre forward now. It’s such a shame because although Jesus wasn’t banging goals in, he was creating so much. I heard it was only three weeks initially but now it’s seemingly three months which is obviously a much bigger issue.
On the possibility of signing Marcus Thuram from Borussia Mönchengladbach, Parlour stated that if the striker is available, the Gunners shouldn’t hesitate to sign him.
“I know Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach could be available because his contract is up at the end of the year. I do know Edu was looking for a winger/forward when I spoke to him in preseason.
“He wanted a winger who could go past someone and offer something a bit different to what they’ve got now. Someone pacy like a Marc Overmars… that’s what I’d be looking to bring in.”
However, he insisted that having Eddie Nketiah as striker for the team may not be enough to win the Premier League.
“I really like Eddie Nketiah. I think he’s great to bring off the bench but he’s not Gabriel Jesus is he? That’s the problem you’re going to have.
“I know Jesus hasn’t scored for a while for Arsenal but he brings so much to the team in terms of his work rate and link up play. He never gives up and his intense pressing makes it easier for the midfield behind him to win the ball back. Gabriel Martinelli could be an option through the middle as well with his energy.”
In the same vein, Parlour said that he’s delighted that Arsenal defender, William Saliba is not starting for the France national team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, stating that Saliba will return to the Gunners fresh and injury free.
“It has surprised me [Saliba’s lack of action] and I was also surprised Gabriel didn’t get a look in for Brazil as well because partnerships are so important and those two have been great for Arsenal. But it just shows you the depth that France have. The coach has gone with the experience of Varane alongside Konate so Saliba will have to bide his time.
“Saliba has been excellent for Arsenal but Deschamps is trusting those he knows and has seen more of you’d imagine. But Arsenal need to get Saliba signed up to a new contract because it looked at one point that he’d be off. But he’s stayed and flourished so Arsenal must keep him there as long as they can now.