Former Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing has questioned whether Arsenal should be pursuing Djed Spence.
The Boro fullback has performed well during a loan spell at Nottingham Forest, which has led to the Gunners, Tottenham, Manchester City and even Bayern Munich taking a keen interest in him. However, while Downing feels he could be a better fit for Spurs, he can’t see him being a success at the Emirates:
“I like the way Spurs play with a wing-back system, I know they’re quite defensive but I think Conte likes the wing-backs to go up and down – that suits his game. I’m not sure about Arsenal, I think he would have to do another level.”
Spence will reportedly be sold for between €12m (£10m) and €15m (£12.5m) this summer, which is a surprisingly low figure, considering he is in such high demand. Downing, though, has provided an insight into why he has a few reservations about the player. The winger trained alongside Spence before he left the Riverside Stadium in 2019 and he does have some attitude problems:
“I think more with him it’s about his mentality. He’s a little bit laid-back, he could be late at times, you need to be on at him and be aggressive as a manager because he’s a little laid-back, as I said, and I think managers can get frustrated with that.”
It’s very possible that Spence has matured since then, but the fact that Middlesbrough allowed him out on loan at the start of the season does suggest there are some rough edges that need to be smoothed out. Whether Arsenal will take a gamble on the right-back, we shall have to wait and see.