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Arsenal eyeing move for William Carvalho

Arsenal have come a long way under Mikel Arteta, largely thanks to his outstanding man management and cutthroat nature.

On the outside, the Spaniard boasts a beaming smile, a sparkling head of hair and a stylish jumper, but on the inside, there is a ruthless and mean side to his personality.

That very factor has seen the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang banished from north London, while the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Hector Bellerin and Alexandre Lacazette all met their end under the former midfielder.

However, there is one player at the club who despite his much-maligned performances and attitude in recent years remains in the capital; that of Granit Xhaka.

If anybody embodies the rise of the club under Arteta then it is the Swiss midfielder, who has gone from being jeered off the pitch by supporters to becoming a fan favourite this season.

Transformed from a deep-lying playmaker to a box-to-box maestro, it has been a remarkable turnaround in his Arsenal career.

He has run 11.43km per game this term, more than any other teammate while his goal and shot-creation numbers have risen considerably. Indeed, Xhaka ranks in the top 15% of Premier League midfielders for shot-creating actions per 90 minutes this season, a metric he ranked in the best 19% for last term.

Furthermore, he ranks in the top 37% of players for dribbles that lead to a shot attempt and in the best 18% for goal-creating actions. Compare that with his stats in 2021/22 and there is a huge amount of difference. Last term saw the 30-year-old rank in the worst 29% of players for the first statistic and then in the worst 45% of players for goal-creating actions.

This is a man on a mission but it also demonstrates why the Gunners need back up for the former Borussia Monchengladbach man in the middle of the park.

Without him or Thomas Partey, Arsenal look a shadow of the team they are with them playing but they could find that much-needed depth in William Carvalho.

Reports from Spain suggest they have the Portuguese midfielder in their sights and he could be a superb option for Edu in the transfer market.

That’s because there are arguable comparisons. Indeed, Xhaka’s most comparable player in FB Ref’s similar players model is former Arsenal man Matteo Guendouzi.

The Marseille midfielder, who is part of Didier Deschamps’ World Cup squad for Qatar is also compared to Carvalho by FB Ref, with the Frenchman being the sixth most similar player.

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Guendouzi left the club in controversial circumstances after a falling out with Arteta with it left to be seen who has the final laugh. Both parties have thrived since that exit but in Carvalho, Arsenal could find a similar player with perhaps a better personality and mentality.

Their expected goals are practically identical with the Portugal international hitting 0.17 in comparison to the France international’s 0.16.

Furthermore, they are alike in their pass completion with Carvalho proving successful with 85.7% of his passes to Guendouzi’s 84.4%.

Neither are too offensive, so it’s in their defensive metrics where the true comparisons lie with the former making 1.46 tackles per 90 minutes to the latter’s 1.54. They also make an identical number of clearances – 0.68.

A safe pair of hands in the centre of the park, the aggressive £22m-rated Betis midfielder has been dubbed a “machine” by football writer James Nalton and “extraordinary” by current South Korea boss Paulo Bento.

Just two glowing reviews, it paints the picture of how good he could be with the Gunners no doubt requiring another pair of hands in his region of the pitch if they are to continue their challenge for the Premier League title.

They could just unearth their next Guendouzi as well if a deal can be done this winter.

Article title: Arsenal eyeing move for William Carvalho

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