Denis Suarez may be only 24 years of age but, after playing for five different clubs across two different countries, he’s learned a lot in a relatively short space of time. Taking the risk of moving with his family to England to play for Manchester City as a teenager, it was the first of many big decisions which have taken his footballing journey down many twists and turns.
Arsenal have emerged as a potential suitor for the Spaniard, who has had a rough recent spell at Barcelona due to the sheer amount of talented midfield options at manager Ernesto Valverde’s disposal. His opportunities have been limited to occasional run-outs from the bench or Copa del Rey fixtures, making clear the motivation for him move to the Premier League.
Denis Suarez in brief
Place of birth: Salceda de Caselas
Previous clubs: Manchester City, Sevilla, Villarreal, Barcelona
Why are Arsenal interested in him?
Unai Emery has previously worked with Denis when the two crossed paths in Seville during the 2014-15 La Liga season. Brought in as a 20-year-old loanee from Barça, Denis made 31 league appearances for Los Nervionenses, 16 of them starts, as the Andalusian club finished in fifth place. Not only that, but Emery led the club to Europa League glory alongside the strong league run.
Halfway through a two-year loan deal, despite the silverware, Denis asked to move on. Villarreal was his chosen destination, as he searched for a club that would give him the consistent chances to become a settled first-team player. The club from Castellon paid both Sevilla and Barcelona to make a permanent transfer happen, as now-Valencia boss Marcelino promised him further opportunities.
After helping Emery’s side to a fifth-placed finish, Denis went one better at the now-renamed El Madrigal. Villarreal climbed into fourth place and the Champions League during the 2015-16 campaign and the 21-year-old midfielder was a key piece of the puzzle – even earning himself a place in Spain’s provisional squad for Euro 2016.
From the periphery at Man City, Barça and Sevilla, Marcelino trusted the young Spaniard and was rewarded with his best football to date – this in a position that makes him an interesting proposition for Arsenal.
How would the deal work?
Reports in Spain this week suggest that Denis Suarez will be signing a new deal at Barcelona before making a potential loan move to England. Emery has already been clear in the fact that Arsenal are only in the financial position to be able to do temporary business during the current transfer window, which has limited their movements during January considerably – especially when desiring a certain calibre of player.
As a part of any loan deal, the Gunners would be given an option to buy in the summer, should Denis impress over the coming months at the Emirates. Mundo Deportivo suggest that the Spaniard’s new contract at Camp Nou will extend until 2021, a year beyond his current deal, and Arsenal will pay a fee of €2m to take the Barça midfielder on loan. A buy-out clause will be present in the deal, per the same source, but the Premier League club will not be obligated to activate it.
Where does he fit into Emery’s plans?
Denis is a versatile midfield option, capable of playing both centrally and out on the left-hand side. During his year-long spell at Barça B, he provided cutting edge from the left wing. At Sevilla, he featured in a range of positions across attacking midfield areas and offered energy from the bench.
Arsenal haven’t had a solid, dependable option on the left-hand side of their attack this campaign, as various players have found themselves deployed out on that flank and their form has been inconsistent. The window of opportunity is certainly there for a player to arrive at the Emirates and make that position their own, with additional freedom to roam given by Sead Kolasinac’s marauding runs close to the left touchline. At Villarreal, where Marcelino enjoyed great success with a 4-4-2 system, his wide midfielders had license to drive forward and also drift infield to create. Denis suited the role, confident and positive when carrying possession at pace.
Composed on the ball, intelligent and keen to make his mark in England a second time around, after years of training with the best at Barcelona and trying to make his first-team dream a reality there is no shame in Denis Suarez embarking on a new adventure in frustration. Versatile, football obsessed and mature for his age, the 24-year-old would be an incredibly useful addition for a busy Arsenal squad with plenty of games on the horizon.
Emery is a demanding coach, but Denis took Xavi’s No 6 shirt after the legendary veteran retired at Camp Nou. They both have lofty expectations and are unafraid to take tough decisions in order to reach the top.