Arsenal are set to battle with north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the signature of AS Roma midfielder Ebrima Darboe this summer.
Snapped up by AS Roma from amateur Italian side Young Rieti in 2017, Ebrima Darboe, 19, signed his first professional contract with the club in July 2019. He made his senior debut for AS Roma earlier this month, coming off the bench against Sampdoria.
The young midfielder impressed in the Europa League semi-final second leg against Manchester United. Darboe even played against traditional rivals Lazio last week, becoming the first player born in the 2000’s to ever play in Derby Della Capitale.
The 19-year-old’s fine performances in just a handful of outings for Roma has captured the attention of Arsenal and Tottenham amongst some of the biggest clubs in Europe. However, Roma’s general manager Tiago Pinto has made the teenage prodigy ‘non-transferable’ as the player is expected to play a big part in new manager Jose Mourinho’s plans next season.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have had a season to forget under the management of Mikel Arteta. They have struggled for consistency throughout the campaign and are currently ninth in the table.
However, with four Premier League wins on the spin, including the 3-1 success over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, the Gunners have kept their chances of European qualification alive going into the final game of the season.
In order to qualify for next year’s inaugural UEFA European Conference League, Mikel Arteta’s side have to win their final game against Brighton at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as well as hope the likes of Everton and Tottenham drop points against Manchester City and Leicester City respectively.
Arsenal need quality signings to enjoy a better 2021/22 campaign
Mikel Arteta will be keen to see his club conduct the summer business as quickly as possible after a disappointing campaign.
David Luiz will leave the Emirates Stadium on a free transfer this summer, bringing an end to his two-year stay in north London. Willian, who joined on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer, is expected to follow his Brazilian compatriot Luiz out of Arsenal too at the end of the season.
Arteta will be willing to get rid of some of the club’s fringe players before bringing in some quality reinforcements. One area the Spanish tactician should prioritise addressing is Arsenal’s midfield during the summer transfer window.
Thomas Partey was signed for big money from Atletico Madrid last summer, but he has failed to live up to the club’s lofty expectations. The Gunners suffer slightly from a lack of strength in depth in the central midfield department, with Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Emile Smith Rowe, Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard their only other options, out of which Ceballos and Odegaard are on loan from Real Madrid and will return to their parent club at the end of the season.
Ebrima Darboe could be a smart long-term investment for Arsenal
Thus, Arsenal’s interest in AS Roma youngster Ebrima Darboe makes sense. Darboe has shown enough promise in the few games he’s played this season to catch the Gunners’ eyes, and with patience, right coaching and maturity, he could develop into a top midfielder.
Going by how Arteta has handled the academy graduates such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe following their promotion to the first-team, there is every chance of Darboe coming in at Arsenal and developing under the Spanish tactician’s watchful eyes.
While Roma are reluctant to sell their young gem, Arsenal must do everything possible to lure the midfielder away to north London before the new season commences.