Discussion in 'Transfer Rumours' started by American_Gooner, Aug 7, 2020.
Partey first preference. Aouar second.
You got the new Lidl Plus app? £5 off, a £25 spend on it, lovely stuff.
Hopefully not, totally different players and we need a creative midfielder above all
Shirt numbers mean nothing these days. We gave Wilshere the #10 shirt and he sometimes was our deepest midfielder. Ffs even Gallas wore our 10 shirt.
Yes please. and please some more.
With King Kia and Don Raul anything is possible. Aulas is probably already off his face with Colombia's finest, with his piece in some of Colombia's finest courtesy of Don Raul.
My source has told me he is willing to negotiate with Arsenal.only now.
The guy's name has four consecutive vowels in it.
Of course I want him.
Experience doesnt have to be age related
Such dumb logic, Aouar is a CL experience player, experience at the highest level + quality vs ESR who has championship experience. ESR should be in the squad next season for rotation. But he shouldn't be starting if we wanna get top 4.
Its fair enough believing in the youngsters but we need high level experience with that.
I'm actually quite shocked that you would rather Saka and ESR be used than him. Signing Aouar and Partey with the relevant sales gives us a great squad.
Ah that’s class, I’ll have to download that. Cheers.
Aouar having champions league experience basically means nothing in the Premiership.
Di Maria, arguably world class in La liga and the champions league couldn't wait to leave England. Ndombele, a player from the same team as Aouar, putting in more noticeable performances last season has struggled in his first season. Our very own Pepe. From Ligue 1, struggled for consistency even though he has quality.
I would rather play Saka as a left 8 than buy Aouar. And I would rather buy an 8 who is happy on the right side.
I don't care how exotic Aouar appears through YouTube compilations or in the champions league which is completely different to England.
I would rather give all of those minutes and some to Saka. A left footed, player who can dribble, shoot, tackle, work hard, score, assist more than anyone else in our squad, play multiple positions. He is the future and I genuinely feel he is a bigger talent than Aouar.
Not even going to debate ESR. He is underrated on this forum. We overrate foreign players playing in weaker leagues and find them amazing just because they play in the champions league.
I wouldn't mind Aouar, but there are a lot of players who are just as good as him if not better for cheaper. It's the hype and image that builds up a players price tag.
Or you could actually watch him play instead of looking at YouTube or his stats. Did you watch him play against Juve in both legs?
Fekir is a bad comparison anyway, they don't play the same position. Fekir is a proper #10, Aouar is an #8.
We have lacked creativity and incision even with Saka in the side. Saka is fantastic but he isnt an incisive AM. ESR is more of a Ramsey type as well, a good ball carrier but again doesn't have that incisiveness we are desperately lacking.
Aouar and Coutinho sort of player is what we lack i couldnt care less of they play left or right of a midfield 3.
Well articulated but it still makes zero sense. We need players like Aouar to dominate the mid in the same way that we used to when we had Santi. Santi was comfortable receiving the ball under pressure and dribbling out or quickly playing first time passes to a teammate. That kind of player disheartens the opposition players, they don't enjoy pressing them because 9 out 10 times it proves useful. Remember pressing Paul Scholes, by the time you get to him he has already released the ball. Saka on the other hand is fine in the final third, but he doesn't demand the ball as much during build up.
In my opinion, this guy or someone similar would be my top priority. We are so disjointed. We rely too heavily on long balls from defence to find our strikers. Get this guy and our front 3 will be singing
I'm not saying we don't need one. I'm saying we need someone who has those traits, but is comfortable on the right. Aouar plays predominantly on the left. He basically goes to the left touchline. I'd play Saka that side and biy someone who likes going to the right touchline. Someone who can go on the outside of Pepe.
I understand what you’re saying, people think LCM=RCM and for many players that isn’t the case. But sometimes it is, especially for the top ones.
Saka>Aouar is a bit reckless. We need proven quality and Saka is going to have his ups and downs as he matures as a player.
Guendouzi and cash for Aouar
There are very few CM who can come into the PL and dominate games. Look at the top 6 teams in the PL. How many CM can you count who have been dominating and dictating the game over the past 2-3 seasons? Apart from Silva and KDB and arguably Kanté. United have not been able to do that despite the big names Fred , Pogba etc. Sp**s have struggled to do that and brought Ndombele etc. Chelsea too with Kovacevic and Jorginho who have been decent but just okay. Liverpool opted for a system of pace , agression and quick passing to dominate the midfield. They did not rely on a playmaker and that the route Klopp took before a decision to let Coutinho go. At Arsenal only Özil could carry out that role. Again he lacked the pace and aggression to dominate in his position. Reason every other Arsenal manager after Arsène had to drop him and rely on less skilful CMs who can fight for the team. We know how Özil ended.
My point is I have not seen enough in Aouar to come in and dominate the midfield. Unless we work on a system that suits him. For example a city midfield would accommodate him easily. The midfield trio are on the same wavelength. Quick , technically very efficient , vision , great first touch etc. Gundogan , KDB and Silva all fit like a glove and rely on their skill than power.
Arsenal after securing Auba should fly to Spain and not return without Partey. With the protection and industrious work of Partey you would be surprised how players like Saka would thrive in the team. I go for balance above a single playmaking CM.
Being able to play on both sides of the pitch at the same level has nothing to do with the level of the player. It's simply about whether they are comfortable on either side.
Players prefer certain sides and drift to certain sides. They require different skill sets. Going on the outside on your dominant foot puts you up against a player on their stronger foot.
Going on the inside like Pepe puts you on your stronger foot while they are on their weaker foot. Shift it quick enough and they can't react, as they are also concentrating on showing you down the line.
Saka is comfortable in the left half space as a left footer. That is invaluable. It means you get the De Bruyne effect. Both of our wide players are inverted. It makes sense to buy a right footer who can drive on the outside.
From what I have seen from Aoaur, is he likes to go left and come back inside so he can see the whole pitch. He likes the left Half space, but so does Auba and Martinelli. And if you buy a forward like Edouard he likes that space to. Saka can go outside that space and get to the byline. I'd like someone to do that on the right side also.
I'm not saying Aoaur isn't good. Just not what I'd want, but maybe Arteta does.
Aouor was one of the players the Athletic profiled as a potential Özil replacement a month or so back. Link here: https://theathletic.com/1890403/2020/06/25/arsenal-mesut-Özil-transfer-targets/
It’s a very interesting read, maybe @American_Gooner can share?
Anyway my brief summary would be that offensively Aouar looks insane. However, defensively he’s comfortably the least impactful of any of the players they considered: even manages to rank lower than Özil in that regard, which is pathetic when you think about it.
He’s young, so can always improve there, and it might be something to do with how he’s been used this year. However, I wonder if he’s really the type of creative midfielder Arteta is looking for?
Genuinely surprised that you tagged me in a transfer thread and didn't say "big dick Raul has done it again hasn't he?" or "think we should lock this up". Anyway...
In the first two matches since the Premier League restart, Mesut Özil has not played a single minute.
Having been left out for the squad against Manchester City, he did travel for the Brighton match — but was not one of Mikel Arteta’s five substitutes. Arteta initially cited “tactical reasons” for excluding Özil but that merely served as a tacit admission he was not carrying an injury.
It’s a significant shift in selection policy for Arteta, who made Özil a cornerstone of his side prior to the enforced break from football. The Athletic understands there has been no great falling-out between player and coach, who enjoy a good relationship. Özil became a father for the first time early in lockdown and consequently, was a little behind other members of the squad in terms of his mental and physical preparation.
Arteta chose to reward the players who’d shown the greatest commitment during the break — but made it clear in speaking to Özil that the door remained open, provided he improved his condition. He could now be in contention for this week’s matches against Southampton and Sheffield United.
Nevertheless, Arteta is surely aware that Özil does not represent the future of this Arsenal team. He will turn 32 later this year, with his contract due to expire the following summer. Even if Arteta turns to him again in his hour of need, he will surely be considering how best to move on from him.
Finding a replacement for Özil is a task that, some would argue, should have been undertaken some time ago. To find a like-for-like replacement for the 2019-20 version of Özil is to look for a player who doesn’t create all that much, rarely scores, and who doesn’t offer much consistently when without the ball either.
Of all the No 10s to have played in a 4-2-3-1 in the Premier League since Arteta’s arrival, just five have played more than 300 minutes. Of those, Özil only edges Norwich’s Ondrej Duda for goals and assists per 90 but his underlying performances have been the worst of the lot.
The only consistent thread between Özil this season and when he was at his best — the 2015-16 campaign, when he notched 19 assists — is the system he’s largely operated in: the 4-2-3-1. That season, every team in the Premier League bar West Brom employed the formation at least once.
Football is dynamic, ever-evolving and ever-changing, though, and in 2019-20, most teams have moved onto the next formation du jour. Prior to the league shutdown, only Norwich had played with a 4-2-3-1 every game, and even they changed to a 4-4-2 for their recent match against Southampton. In total, only 13 teams have employed the formation at all this season. Under Arteta, Arsenal had used a variation on the 4-2-3-1 in every game, until the match against Brighton in which he deployed a new-look 4-3-3, which replicated some of the patterns of play Arteta’s mentor Pep Guardiola uses at Manchester City. Arguably, the absence of Özil was a key factor in enabling him to make that switch.
It’s too early to say whether this will be a permanent switch but it does suggest Arteta may have decided the best way to replace Özil is to not directly replace him at all.
Instead of looking for a pure No 10, Arteta should identify a player who has the desired attributes but is also comfortable operating as an attack-minded No 8 in a 4-3-3.
There is no perfect Özil replacement out there, so the best way to find a successor is to narrow down the key areas Arteta would want them to contribute in. Ideally, he’d want someone who can be creative, retain possession, press and score.
Identifying someone who can do all of those things equally effectively is close to impossible. It’s when Arsenal pick three from the grid below, leaving one out area, that things become more interesting.
To find some suitable options, we can turn to smarterscout, a site that gives detailed analytics on players all over the world, whose ratings you can think of a bit like the player ratings on FIFA but powered by real data and advanced analytics.
To find a replacement for Özil, we want to have some basic filters in place before getting to the attributes we care about. For a start, we only care about a subset of leagues: those who’ve played at least 600 minutes as a central or attacking midfielder this season and are aged 28 or under.
The leagues in question are the top five in Europe — La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and, of course, the Premier League — alongside the top leagues in Belgium and Holland. There might be some underrated gems in this league that, at some point, will make their way to larger leagues.
Given the leagues, position, age and minutes threshold, we have a longlist of 168 players. Some of the names, such as Dele Alli and Kevin De Bruyne, we can cross off for obvious reasons. Others, such as Watford’s Will Hughes or Newcastle’s Christian Atsu, aren’t quite at the level that Arsenal need, so can be taken off also. In this exercise, we’ve largely set price tags to one side, as it’s difficult to predict how the transfer market will function when it resumes later this summer.
We don’t have a concrete definition of what Arteta is looking for in an attacking midfield player but we can deduce that it involves creating chances and getting the ball into dangerous areas, being comfortable and able to press to win the ball back, not being sloppy in possession, and being able to chip in with the odd goal every once in a while. Using these criteria, we can map each of these desired attributes to the metrics on smarterscout.
The first is ball progression. This is measured based on progressing the ball forward — either through passing the ball yourself, or receiving it in advantageous positions. This is calculated in a similar way to expected goals but for all non-shooting actions.
For example, passing the ball from outside the box into it increases a team’s likelihood of scoring, so the player should receive credit for that. Likewise, recovering a loose ball and restarting an attacking move increases a side’s chances of scoring. Sum up all of the actions that increase a chance of scoring for a team and you have a measure of how what they do with the ball increases the team’s chance of scoring. In the pizza charts below, this is referred to as “xG from ball progression”.
A player’s tendency to press can be measured through how often they look to disrupt opposition attacks through tackling and fouling, which is represented as “disrupting opposition moves” on the pizza chart. Additionally, a player’s tackling ability — how good they are in one-on-one duels — and how often they intercept and recover loose balls are included on the pizza chart, too.
To measure how well a player maintains possession, smarterscout’s ball retention model comes in handy. This model considers how likely a player is to keep possession when attempting a given action on the field (say, with the ball by the corner flag) and compares how often they keep possession in these situations versus the average player. These ratings go from 0 to 99, so those who are great at retaining possession whenever will rate higher and those who are sloppier in possession will be rated lower.
Lastly, goalscoring. We can measure the quality of chances that a player gets themselves into by using expected goals. “xG from shooting” shows a player’s ability to constantly get into good positions. Those rated 99 here, compared to others in their position, get great-quality chances consistently. Those with a zero rating never threaten the opposition goal.
To provide some context, here are a couple of pizza charts that illustrate Özil’s decline. Here he is in 2016-17…
Now let’s look at his form in 2019-20…
Notice the dramatic difference in his creative output — even though other metrics remain largely the same. The fact that Özil has maintained his ball retention skills begs the question of whether it is he or Arsenal who are getting worse. It’s possible that the team’s patterns of play are no longer conducive towards Özil’s creative talents. Regardless, it isn’t working right now. With that in mind, let’s move on to the potential replacements.
The create, retain, press group
In some ways this group reflects the younger Özil’s best traits. Never renowned as a goalscorer, under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid he showed himself to be creatively adept and defensively switched on when required.
The first name produced via smarterscout’s system will be painfully familiar to Arsenal fans — Pascal Gross, who featured in both games as Graham Potter’s men managed a league double over Arsenal. His aggressive pressing style, demonstrated by his 90 ratings for disrupting opposition moves, made it difficult for Arsenal to comfortably play out from the back. He’s also a set-piece expert and his dead-ball delivery would come in handy at any Premier League outfit. On the other hand, he has the lowest ball-carrying rating of any candidate and does not spend enough time in the opposition’s penalty box. What counts against Gross most of all is his age. Having recently turned 29, he is unlikely to be considered.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Kerem Demirbay was another name that popped up, with his higher defensive output reflecting the fact he tends is also comfortable operating from a deeper starting position. A former Turkey youth international, he switched allegiance and has won two Germany caps since 2017.
His upright dribbling style is a little reminiscent of former Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele. As a left-footer who is expert in helping progress the play, he’s someone who could potentially function as a replacement for Granit Xhaka, rather than Mesut Özil. Having only joined Leverkusen last summer for a fee in the region of £24 million, he might prove difficult to prise away any time soon.
In terms of age profile, 23-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Daichi Kamada is maybe the most intriguing of this group. Arsenal would know the player well, having encountered Frankfurt in the Europa League — a competition in which he’s scored six goals from just seven starts. Although he has yet to replicate that form in the Bundesliga, his technical ability and work rate make him an interesting prospect, and there have already been some predictable comparisons with Kamada’s countryman Shinji Kagawa.
More so than Demirbay or Gross, Kamada’s chart shows him to be an effective all-rounder — something which could suit Arteta’s desired style.
The retain, press, score group
What if Arsenal were not so reliant on Özil’s replacement for creativity, but instead opted for a hard-running, hard-shooting ball-carrier?
Wolves’ Diogo Jota has already illustrated his brilliance against Arsenal on several occasions. His xG from shooting rating of 95 shows his ability to find dangerous goalscoring positions. His game is about far more than that, however. A carry and dribble volume of 82 illustrates his capacity to drive his team up the field, and good defensive numbers show he forms a disciplined part of Nuno Espirito Santo’s press.
A word of warning: Wolves’ strong financial position and their relatively close position to Arsenal in the Premier League standings could prove impediments to a sale.
Lorenzo Pellegrini of Roma has been linked with Everton, after a positive Serie A campaign in which he played in a more advanced role ahead of Bryan Cristante and Jordan Veretout.
While he does not come close to matching Jota’s ratings defensively or in terms of continuity, he does still provide considerable goal threat.
Then there’s Orkun Kokcu, a Turkey Under-21 International making a strong impression at Feyenoord. According to Voetbal International, Feyenoord’s technical director Frank Arnesen is open to selling Kokcu in order to raise the budget for new signings — and Arsenal are said to be one of the clubs on his trail.
As is to be expected with any player so young, there are gaps in his game. A reception in the box rating of 36 suggests he could be more effective in the final third and he’s certainly no tackler. Nevertheless, he remains a very interesting prospect with considerable technical gifts.
The create, retain, score group
If Arteta was willing to reduce the defensive responsibilities on his attacking midfield player, it would open up several other potential targets. These names are somewhat more familiar, starting with Philippe Coutinho.
The players in this category inevitably tend to contribute less defensively — in that regard, Coutinho is arguably the best of this small selection. Where he really shines is in attack: an xG from ball progression of 94 is outstanding, and his xG from shooting also suggests a player who will get you goals.
The Brazilian could be looking for a new club after his loan with Bayern Munich, and the Arsenal executive team have a close relationship with his representative Kia Joorabchian. The issue, of course, would be meeting Coutinho and Barcelona’s considerable demands.
Meanwhiel, Martin Odegaard’s form with Real Sociedad has been excellent. Like Coutinho, his attacking numbers are very good. A carry and dribble volume of 90 is also excellent, suggesting that he could play an instrumental role in helping Arsenal progress up the field.
Odegaard’s spell with Sociedad has been so successful that Madrid have decided to keep him there for another year. It’s highly unlikely they’d consider selling such a promising young midfield player at this stage in his career. If he returns to Madrid and fails to make an impression, perhaps Arsenal would have a chance. For now, this one looks difficult to pull off.
Houssem Aouar has emerged as one of the stars of a Lyon side packed with young talent — so much so that it’s difficult to imagine Arsenal luring him to London, especially without the carrot of Champions League football.
That may not be the worst thing: while the creative dimension of his game is undoubtedly strong, defensively, he has a way to go. His tackling, ball recovery and disrupting opposition moves ratings are all below 15. Aouar is a gifted prodigy but perhaps not the dynamic all-rounder Arteta is looking for.
The create, press, score group
These players are ones whose strength is more in direct intervention than continuity. If you were asked to guess which Aston Villa midfielder might make this list, you’d probably guess Jack Grealish. You’d be wrong: his team-mate John McGinn actually profiles very well statistically.
McGinn’s numbers suggest he excels as a ball-carrier, with a carry and dribble volume of 95. He also rates highly for reception in the opponents’ box and xG from shooting, demonstrating himself to be a significant goalscoring threat. Arsenal have tended to shy away from purchasing Premier League players but with Liverpool demonstrating how effective that strategy can be, perhaps Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu would consider following suit.
Should Aston Villa be relegated back to the Championship this season, McGinn may be available for a price below his value.
A low link-up rating of 10 would, however, be a cause for concern. McGinn’s touches on the ball are usually when Villa are attacking, which begs the question of whether McGinn can contribute effectively to Arsenal’s build-up play.
In Arsène Wenger’s reign, the Frenchman’s scouts made no secret of their admiration for Russian midfielder Aleksandr Golovin. Arsenal investigated the possibility of signing him from CSKA Moscow before he made the move to Monaco. In Ligue 1, he has continued to blossom, and at 24, is now entering his prime.
Golovin’s numbers at Monaco this season paint him to be an excellent attacking threat from midfield. His ratings of 98 for ball progression and 94 for shooting indicate a player capable of both creating and scoring — something Arsenal are crying out for in Özil’s position.
The worry with Golovin will be that his role at Monaco is predicated on him playing in a side that play at a faster tempo to that of Arsenal. His low rating of 20 for link-up play indicates that compared to other midfielders, he’s not seeing many touches when not attacking.
Additionally, his ball retention ability of 32 is also pretty low, and although likely influenced by the nature of Monaco’s style of play, is something that would need work to ensure he’s not consistently leaking possession for Arsenal.
Off the ball, Golovin isn’t a solid tackler — as noted by his low tackling ability — but does put in plenty of work to intercept and block passes, and hoover up ball recoveries.
Finally, there’s Jonathan David — a player already on the radar of Arsenal’s current scouting set-up. Although he is expected to develop into a centre-forward, David has also shown impressive ability as an attacking midfield player. As a young player in the Belgian league, he feels like one of the more attainable names on this list.
David’s chart suggests he’s an exceptionally promising young player. A link-up rating of 93 means he’s heavily involved in Gent’s build-up. A rating of 97 for touches in the opposition box shows that he’s equally capable of getting on the end of things.
Defensively, he does not shirk responsibility, either. A tackling ability of 71 is particularly good for a principally attacking player — by way of comparison, McGinn scores just 10 in that category.
These ratings are adjusted for the Premier League, so although David may be playing well in Belgium, there is a tangible difference in quality between the two leagues — something Arsenal would need to consider if they wanted him to contribute to Arteta’s team straight away.
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