This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Amid the growing fall-out of Granit Xhaka’s now infamous clash with the Arsenal supporters at the Emirates a few weeks ago, one of the big talking points has been whether the Switzerland international now has a long-term future at the club.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that the north London side are prepared to let the ex-club captain go, with a return to former side Borussia Monchengladbach even being mooted. As such, the Gunners have been linked with a whole host of midfielders themselves as they look to enter life without Xhaka, and one man who has supposedly been on their radar, is RB Salzburg starlet Dominik Szoboszlai.
According to Football Insider, the Gunners had scouts to take a look at Szoboszlai while the 19-year-old was in action for Hungary against Wales on Tuesday night. If the north Londoners thought they would witness the starlet go on to stamp his mark on a pivotal game for both countries – automatic qualification to EURO 2020 was on offer – then they were sadly proven wrong.
The teenager struggled greatly in the heat of the occasion, failing to get involved in the build-up play for Hungary and not being able to control the game in his side’s favour. As per Sofascore, his 6.1 match rating was the second-worst of any player to have featured for the full 90 minutes, and when looking at his underlying numbers during the game, it is easy to see why.
Playing in a number ten role, Szoboszlai could muster just 40 touches and 18 successful passes – a staggeringly low amount considering Hungary averaged 59% possession. Despite trailing as early as the 15th minute courtesy of a goal from former Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey, the prodigy couldn’t muster any shots on target in the entire contest.
Indeed, whenever he did get on the ball, he looked all at sea, losing possession on 15 separate occasions. Ramsey meanwhile struck twice to give Wales the all-important win, and there no doubt would have been a sense of regret at losing the now Juventus man in the summer. If Szoboszlai thought this was his audition to eventually be the Welshman’s heir at the Emirates, then he failed miserably.