Assessing Arsenal’s winger search: Yannick Carrasco vs. Alex Iwobi

It would be an understatement to say that Arsenal’s summer is one of the biggest in recent memory for the club.

After missing out on Champions League football for a third successive season, Unai Emery has the task of rebuilding an Arsenal squad that is in a deep depression and in need of fresh faces and solid recruitment in vital positions, one of which being the wings.

In Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi, the Gunners only had two natural wingers last season to call upon, resulting in the likes of Sead Kolasinac and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang filling in as make-shift wide-men for much of the campaign, but it could have been a different story.

BBC Sport reported in January that the Gunners had a bid rejected for former Atletico Madrid man Yannick Carrasco, and rumours of a move have kick-started again with the winger recently admitting that he is ready for a return to Europe and that he would prefer a move to the Premier League.

Carrasco is a player Arsenal fans want, but how does the Belgian international compare to Iwobi in their last full league seasons according to the stats via WhoScored?

Right off the back is clear to see that although Iwobi had his best season in an Arsenal shirt, Carrasco has the advantage in the majority of categories – albeit in a league of far lesser quality.

The Dalian Yifang star has managed more goal contributions than Iwobi in 10 fewer games by a clear margin, and although the Nigerian winger has earned a decent reputation as a playmaking wide-man, the Hale End product still pales in comparison to Carrasco’s output.

As well as contributing more to the score sheet, Carrasco’s ability to win fouls will prove to be an underrated but important addition to the Arsenal team. The Gunners only won five penalties last season, two less than Liverpool and seven fewer than Manchester United (stats via Transfermarkt). With the Belgian winger, though, that number will likely increase.

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As well as winning more fouls, the majority of Arsenal’s goals this season have come from strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang, and Carrasco would ease the burden on the two forwards’ need to be the main source of firepower.

It sounds like gloom and doom for Iwobi, but it wouldn’t spell the end for him in north London. The 23-year-old has found plenty of use this season due to his ability to play in advanced positions on the pitch, from his favoured left-wing to attacking midfield as a number 10, and this versatility will not only allow Carrasco to take Iwobi’s place in the team but give the Nigerian the opportunity to serve more as a squad player.

Carrasco will add plenty to the Arsenal side if the Gunners manage to sign the Dalian Yifang winger, and compared to Iwobi, he is simply miles ahead when it comes to attacking the final third.

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