Arsenal

Who is Ianis Stoica? The Romanian Kylian Mbappe linked with shock Arsenal transfer

Arsenal endured a busy summer transfer window, spending more than any other Premier League club.

The Gunners splashed in excess of £140million, bringing in Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard.

Mikel Arteta’s side have since kicked on in their search for a top-four finish, enjoying a ten-match unbeaten run before losing 4-0 to Liverpool on Saturday – a result that leaves them just three points behind the coveted UEFA Champions League spots.

Despite the north Londoners sitting fifth in the current standings, they boast a goal difference of minus four, illustrating their troubles in the final third – having scored just 13 league goals so far this term.

Now, Playsport have claimed that Arsenal are interested in signing Romanian striker Ianis Stoica in January, who Gunners scouts have reportedly been watching for the last two months.

With that being said, who exactly is Stoica and what qualities would he bring to the Emirates Stadium if he was signed in the New Year?

Who is Ianis Stoica?

Aged just 18, Stoica is a talented forward born in Bucharest, Romania.

He is a versatile player, currently plying his trade with FSCB, former known as Steau, often operating as a right-winger or a striker and on occasion as an attacking midfielder.

Why do Arsenal want him?

Two Arsenal strikers look set to leave the club at the end of the current campaign, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette into the final year of their contracts in north London.

If both frontmen were to depart next summer that would leave Arteta with just Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Folarin Balogun as recognised centre-forwards.

Therefore, signing the young Stoica would make sense, particularly considering the club’s recent strategy of signing young players with sky-high potential and large sell-on values.

The Romanian Under-21 international is renowned for his blistering pace, often utilising his speed to skip past opposition defenders.

During the Gunners’ aforementioned 4-0 loss to Liverpool at the weekend, their attack lacked outlets, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Lacazette all wanting the ball to feet. Adding Stoica to the ranks would give the north London outfit a different option, a willing runner who can help stretch opposition defences back a further five yards to give space for Saka and Smith Rowe to operate.

Where would he fit in?

Stoica’s versatility makes him a manager’s dream and considering both Saka and Smith Rowe have operated in a number of positions across the frontline, then perhaps the three could form a fluid front three at some point in the future.

The youngster has already racked up over 50 senior appearances, having astonishingly scored on his first-team debut for FCSB at the age of 14 but perhaps a loan move would make the most sense for him if he was to join the club.

Given the likes of Balogun and Gabriel Martinelli have both struggled for game time this season, it seems unlikely that Stoica would be able to instantly come in and get minutes for Arteta’s side, however, that doesn’t rule out him being integrated into the first-team in the future.