According to The Daily Mirror, Arsenal are targeting a swoop in the January transfer window for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.
The Gunners have endured a miserable campaign to date so far, languishing in the bottom half of the table after the half-way stage of the Premier League season. One area of major concern for recently-appointed head coach Mikel Arteta, is their creaking back-line.
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The north Londoners have already conceded 30 goals in just 20 top-flight games, and injuries have no doubt played a major part in that woeful record. The likes of Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney have missed large chunks of the campaign, whilst Calum Chambers was forced off with an issue in the clash against Chelsea.
And now, The Daily Mirror claim Arsenal are ready to back Arteta in the transfer market, and that they are “keeping close tabs on RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano who could be allowed to leave next month with his contract running down”.
Having been credited with interest in Upamecano in the summer transfer window, the Gunners turning their attentions back towards the 21-year-old is entirely understandable. It’s a player they have already looked at before, and are perhaps confident of how well he would fit into the team right now. And when looking at his numbers this season, it is easy to see why.
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As per Whoscored, the £45m-rated defender averages an impressive 2.5 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game in the Bundesliga. And whilst his stats in terms of the defensive categories are certainly appealing to the Gunners, it’s his numbers with the ball that really makes him the ideal Arteta signing.
The Spaniard was assistant at Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s side looked to build-up play from the back rather than simply hoofing it forward or going more direct – the Citizens boast the highest average possession in the league (60.3%) and play the most amount of short passes per game too (603).
And in Upamecano, they could have someone who would be entirely comfortable with the ball at his feet. He averages an unbelievable 71.7 passes per game, at an accuracy of 88.8%. Compare that to David Luiz’s stats of 53.4 passes per game and 84.8% accuracy in the Premier League.
A swoop for Upamecano would solve not only Arsenal’s lack of numbers at centre-back, but also bring someone who could fit into Arteta’s style of play.