Scouting report: Everything you need to know about Arsenal target Yacine Adli

Scouting report: Everything you need to know about Arsenal target Yacine Adli

Paris Saint-Germain teenager Yacine Adli looks set to become Unai Emery’s first signing as Arsenal manager.

That’s according to French outlet L’Equipe, who claim Adli is closing in on a move to the Emirates after turning down a contract offer from PSG.

The 17-year-old midfielder made his senior debut under Emery, and it seems he did enough to tempt his former manager to push for a reunion.

Also reportedly a long-term target of the Gunners’ new Head of Recruitment, Sven Mislintat, it seems Adli is a familiar face to all parties.

It’s unlikely the teenager will be thrown straight into the first team given his age and unfamiliarity with the Premier League.

But what can Arsenal expect – both now and in the future – from the youngster?

Adli’s career so far

Appearances: 1

Key stat: Adli provided five assists at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup, no other player had more.

Key quote: On working with Emery, Adli told Goal: “I think I’ve become more mature, largely thanks to my integration into the adult game with the reserves, certain training sessions with the professionals.

“I’ve also improved technically, tactically thanks to David Hernandez, who I’ve watched a lot of videos with, which has really helped me. But I think there are still some aspects I can improve. I’m aiming higher, so I’m full of things that can make me better.”

Adli doesn’t turn 18 until July, so it’s not exactly a surprise he hasn’t started a single game for PSG. The midfielder made his debut from the bench in the final Ligue 1 match of the 2017/18 season against Caen. He played just seven minutes plus stoppage time in the goalless draw.

The teenager’s already burgeoning reputation is mostly a result of his displays at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup, where he was part of the France team that reached the Round of 16 only to lose to finalists Spain.

Despite playing only 253 minutes of football at the tournament, Adli managed to register five assists – although it’s worth noting three of them came in a 7-1 victory over a sorry New Caledonia side.

In total, Adli has scored 13 goals in 33 appearances for his country, representing France at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level.

PSG finally gave him a chance to showcase his ability on the final day of the season. However, he had already impressed for the development squads.

A permanent fixture in midfield for the U19 side, Adli’s languid style was on show as he appeared in seven out of eight games in the 2017/18 edition, starting six.

The 17-year-old also scored three goals in nine matches for the reserve squad.

Despite being rewarded with his first taste of senior football, though, it seems it was not enough to convince him to stay.

Where would he fit in at Arsenal?

Adli demonstrated his versatility by primarily playing in an unfamiliar wide position at the Under-17 World Cup. But central midfield is where his future lies.

Indeed, his hair and height aren’t the only things that resemble that of PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot – Adli thrives in a similar position on the pitch, if not venturing further foward than Rabiot.

Could Yacine Adli be a long-term replacement for Jack Wilshere?

Considering his age, it may be some time until Emery decides to give Adli a chance in the Premier League. That said, with Jack Wilshere yet to sign a new contract, there could be an open slot in midfield next season.

With that in mind, Adli could be used as part of a midfield trio with Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey. With Xhaka sitting slightly deeper and Ramsey making late runs into the final third, Adli would be tasked with carrying the ball forward and picking out teammates.

He certainly has the traits to fulfil those responsibilities. Adli is a stylish midfielder who likes to glide across the pitch, and his spatial awareness allows him to find teammates with accurate long passes.

Adli makes up for his lack of pace with his impressive dribbling ability, although he has been accused of trying too hard, attempting to force openings and losing the ball too easily.

But that’s perhaps what Arsenal need in a central midfielder – someone who will get on the ball, take the initiative and open up the opposition.

So what do Arsenal fans think?

The Arsenal fanbase appears to be very happy with the club for luring one of PSG’s most talented young players, while some did admit they have never heard of Adli.