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Arsenal in battle with Manchester United for Fabian Ruiz

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THE LOWDOWN: NAPOLI DAYS NUMBERED

The Spaniard is valued at a hefty £49.5m by Transfermarkt but significantly his contract is due to expire at the end of next season.

If Napoli can’t tie him down in the next couple of months, they may view the summer transfer window as their last opportunity to cash in, knowing that Ruiz could negotiate pre-contract terms with foreign clubs come January 2023.

The 26-year-old has split his minutes so far this season between central midfield (22 games) and defensive midfield roles (15) and could add some valuable versatility and flexibility to any interested party if he moves.

Newcastle United and Everton were said to have prepared moves for the Spaniard just a few months back, and the Toon could well revisit that plan in the summer window.

However, Arsenal have previously been reported as the frontrunners for his signature and are now joined by the Red Devils in the race to sign him.

THE LATEST: READY TO OFFLOAD

According to RAI journalist Ciro Venerato (h/t Sport Witness), Napoli are ready to offload Fabian Ruiz in the summer transfer window.

The club’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis is prepared to listen to offers for the midfielder and is expected to sanction a sale if any club come up with a bid of around €30m (£25.5M).

Ruiz’s precarious situation at Napoli has put Manchester United and Arsenal on red alert. The two Premier League giants could potentially go head to head in the race to sign the midfielder.

THE VERDICT: ABSOLUTE BARGAIN

The Spanish playmaker has come leaps and bounds since joining Napoli from Real Betis in July 2018 establishing himself as one of the best midfielders in Serie A in the last four years while also establishing a foothold in the Spanish national side.

According to SofaScore, he is the third-best performing player in the squad with an impressive score rating of 7.22 behind Lorenzo Insigne and level with Kalidou Koulibaly, registering seven goals and four assists in the Italian top-flight from 32 games.

These numbers are impressive for a player who has played in central midfield and defensive midfield for much of the campaign under Luciano Spalletti in Naples.

Recently dubbed “spectacular” by his former boss at Real Betis Quique Setien, Ruiz is a pass master, possessing tremendous vision, flexibility, passing range, deadly through balls and a wand of left boot that has provided so much flair to Napoli’s attacking play this season.

Indeed, the £48k-p/w star clearly offers a lot in an attacking sense, with a 90% pass accuracy, 1.0 key passes per game, and four big chances created whilst losing possession just 8.7 times per game.

It’s clear that Ruiz, who was hailed as “agile” by Hoffenheim defender Diadie Samassekou, can provide an upgrade when it comes to delivering passes accurately to build play and holding the ball in his possession much better than those currently starting in Arteta’s side.

According to FBRef, he’s provided the fifth-most passes into the opposition penalty area (183), which is considerably more than the Gunners’ highest player in this metric, Granit Xhaka (160), and again reinforces the idea that he is indeed one of Serie A’s best creative enforcers.

Reports are claiming that the midfielder could be available for around €30m (£25.5M), and that is an absolute bargain opportunity for KSE and Mikel Arteta to explore this summer. The Gunners should try everything they can to beat Manchester United to his signature.

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