If the rumoured agreement to bring Brazilian attacking prodigy Bernard to Emirates Stadium proves true, it could prove to be a master-strokethat effectively shifts the balance of power in the EPL race to London again. Since the retirement or departure of the 'invincibles' Arsenal’s attacking threat from wing play has diminished greatly. Names like Marc Overmars, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljunberg are players who terrified defences in the majestic drive to Arsenal’s near-forgotten glorious era of domination of English football. They have however proved to be as difficult to replace as their talent was rare in their footballing careers until now. In Atletico Mineiro’s diminutive left wing player, Arsenal will get a player who has the potential to surpass the giddy standards set by these former Arsenal greats.
The excitement the news is generating is not without cause, the Brazilian has been spectacular alongside wizard Ronaldinho scoring 11 goals and 11 assists in steering rank outsiders Mineiro to the final of Copa Libertadores and a second place finish last season in Campeonato Brasileiro Série A deservedly earning the prize of best newcomer in the Brasileiro for his efforts. Standing at just 5 ft 3 inches Bernard's small stature is well known in footballing circles and just like Lionel Messi, his greatest liability has been leveraged into the invaluable asset of being able to dart into the smallest of gaps at lightning speed. Coupled with his frightening pace and direct style of running at defenders, he possesses similar style and confidence to his more accomplished South American counterpart.
His extraordinary vision and natural flair for the killer ball even from the fringes of the field and the remarkable accuracy of his crosses will offer constant service to Frenchman Olivier Giroud’s aerial prowess which will present a new dimension to an Arsenal attack that has become boringly predictable in recent years. Either of Lukas Podolski or Theo Walcott too will have the freedom to move into a more central role like they have been craving and if their performances last season was anything to go by, they’ll present more attacking threat there than where they currently are.
To cap it all, he possesses an ability rare among wingers to not only spot runs but make runs into channels himself coupled with a cool head in the final third and a talent to convert chances clinically if given a whiff of space. The transfer will also be true to Wenger’s character of springing surprise deals and it will also be in line with his famed preference for potentials over accomplishments and if eventually consummated despite the hefty price tag, it could mean the start of something really incredible in North London once again.