Mason Mount to Arsenal: Would the Gunners signing Chelsea's homegrown star make sense?
Arsenal are set for a busy summer as Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu look to build a squad capable of competing in both the Premier League and Champions League next season.
The Gunners are expected to spend big once again, with Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo on the radar once the window opens.
But Chelsea’s Mason Mount is another player the north London club have held discussions about. The England international is expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer as he enters the final year of his contract.
But would a move for Mount - who will miss Tuesday’s game at the Emirates Stadium due to injury - be a good option for Arsenal this summer. Is he a player who could make a difference next season?
GOAL takes a look at the pros and cons...
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PRO: He's Premier League-ready
This has been a tactic that has worked well for Arsenal in recent times. Compared to their rivals, they have signed far more players from other Premier League clubs, and most have proven to be successful additions.
Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko made a huge difference last summer having come in from Manchester City, as did Leandro Trossard following his January switch from Brighton.
The fact that players don’t need to get used to the demands of the Premier League can be a big plus, and Mount would clearly not have much trouble adjusting to life at Arsenal.
He wouldn’t need much time to settle and he already has friends in the changing room, which should make his adjustment even smoother, should he arrive.
That would mean he could focus purely on football during his early days at the club, something that should be very beneficial both to him and Arteta.
CON: He’s coming off a poor season
Should Mount leave Chelsea this summer, he would be joining a new club on the back of a largely disappointing season.
It must be noted that it will have been difficult for any player to perform at their best ability for the Blues this season, given the mess that has unfurled at Stamford Bridge.
But even so, Chelsea fans will have been well within their rights to have expected more from the England international. He’s only made five direct goal contributions so far this season - way down on his usual standards.
So Mount’s confidence levels could be low after such an underwhelming campaign, and he might need a while to build himself up again ahead of next season.
PRO: He should fit Arteta’s system
When he is at his best, Mount does feel like a player who would fit in well under Arteta at Arsenal. His energy levels are good and he presses well. He also has the technique and ability to play the type of football that Arteta has introduced in north London.
The left-sided No.8 role in Arsenal’s 4-3-3 system looks to be a good fit for the Chelsea man. With Granit Xhaka now into his 30s, Arteta needs to come up with a long-term replacement for the Switzerland international, and Mount could be that man.
At 24, he does fit the age range and profile for this Arsenal side. He is also versatile, which is another key trait Arteta looks for in his players.
He would also arrive with Champions League experience ahead of the Gunners' return to Europe’s top competition next season.
CON: What would it mean for Smith Rowe?
If Arsenal were to sign Mount, it would certainly beg the question as to what could happen to Emile Smith Rowe.
Arsenal’s young playmaker has seen himself drop down the pecking order this season, with his opportunities having been severely limited following his return from injury in January.
There are already question marks over Smith Rowe’s future as we head towards the summer, and that’s before any new signings arrive in the transfer window.
But should Arsenal formalise their interest in Mount, a player who can operate in the exact same roles as Smith Rowe, it would feel like another blow to the Hale End academy graduate’s prospects ahead of the 2023-24 season.
PRO: It might help convince Rice
The close friendship between Declan Rice and Mount is well documented.
Obviously, you wouldn’t sign a player just to help convince another to join. But given Arsenal’s well-documented pursuit of Rice, it wouldn’t harm their chances of winning what promises to be a fierce battle for the West Ham skipper should his best friend also be at the club.
Rice is going to be one of the most in-demand players on the market this summer, so any advantage the Gunners might have in the race could prove beneficial.
Mount is also very close with Arsenal’s current England players, such as Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale, so he would have no issues settling in himself.
CON: He wouldn’t be cheap
Arsenal are expected to be big spenders in the transfer market this summer, especially now they have guaranteed themselves Champions League football next season. And they would have to be if they are going to sign the likes of Rice or Mount.
Mount would certainly not come cheap. The transfer fee might not be too high, given his contract situation at Chelsea and the fact that the Blues are expected to have to sell to bring in much-needed cash to balance the books.
But Mount will want big wages and will be in a strong position, as several high-profile clubs are believed to be very keen on landing him this summer.
So it will take a big financial commitment to sign the England international just at a time when Arsenal will see their wage bill rise pretty dramatically due to the long-awaited return of top-tier European football at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal will be approaching this summer window with the aim of taking the squad up to the next level as they look to compete for both the Premier League and Champions League next season.
The addition of Mount would certainly help do that. He’s a very clever player who can play in a number of positions and he has shown at Chelsea that he can contribute at the very highest level, both in terms of goals and creativity.
He ticks a lot of boxes in terms of what Arteta demands from a player and looks like he would slot into the Arsenal system fairly comfortably.
Whether he is good enough to dramatically improve the starting XI is questionable, but you would certainly think he would improve things from an attacking point of view should he replace Xhaka in that left-sided No.8 role.
So on paper it looks like it would be a smart piece of business from Arsenal, although some fans will be wary about signing yet another player from Chelsea.
But unlike the likes of David Luiz, Willian and Jorginho, Mount is not past his best. In fact, at 24, he is not even close to hitting his peak yet.
It’s a potential transfer that would make sense on a number of levels.