Opinion: Where does Denis Suarez fit into Unai Emery's plans?
Denis Suarez in action against Bournemouth | Photo credit: GettyImages- Robin Jones

Opinion: Where does Denis Suarez fit into Unai Emery's plans?

The Barcelona loanee has featured sporadically since joining Arsenal in January.

TJ Wedderburn

After a quiet January transfer window, Denis Suarez emerged as the solitary addition to Unai Emery’s squad. Joining on a six-month loan deal with the option to purchase in the summer.

The 25-year-old is yet to start a game for the Gunners, leading to question marks over the Spaniard’s future at the club.

Competition for places

A number ten by trade, Suarez has largely played on the wings during his career, particularly at Sevilla where he first worked under Emery. Despite not having explosive pace, he’s a very competent technical player who has an eye for a pass and can create openings with his dribbling. These characteristics make him very much the typical Barcelona, and indeed Arsenal player.

Be that as it may, Suarez has barely featured for Arsenal since joining on loan in January. He has accumulated all of his minutes from the bench and without having sufficient time to make an impact, finds himself some way down the pecking order.

Shortly after joining the Gunners, Emery expressed his delight at adding to his somewhat limited wide options - but due to the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi, a start for Suarez is becoming increasingly unlikely.

Looking toward the future

An explanation as to why Emery has used Suarez so sparingly could be the fact that he is being groomed for a long term role at Arsenal.

Usually with loan signings, especially in January, they are brought in to have an instant impact and are used as often as possible because of the short term nature of their stay.

It is a possibility than Emery intends to make Suarez’s move permanent in the summer and is carefully managing his fitness during this adaptation period. The Arsenal boss took a similar approach with summer signing Lucas Torreira, who was eased in gradually despite calls for the Uruguayan to start more matches.

At just 25 years of age, Suarez is still very much a work in progress having not nailed down a starting position at his parent club Barcelona. He was a regular starter for Villarreal during the 2015/16 campaign having joined on a permanent deal, only for Barcelona to take him back to Camp Nou the very next season.

Clearly a talented footballer, Suarez’s development has been far from a smooth ride and there is every chance Emery sees an opportunity for the Spaniard to finally find his feet in north London.

With Arsenal still very much involved in a battle for the Champions League places as well as participation in the Europa League, Suarez still has an opportunity to impress before the end of the season. Effectively fighting on two fronts, Suarez’s quality could yet prove to be the difference for Emery’s men.