Although it’s very much the same story every January, Arsenal look set to make some moves in the transfer window before the deadline passes. While it’s usually late or underwhelming loan deals – Kim Kallstrom is a prime example – Arsene Wenger looks, this time, to be after proven quality to boost his side’s top four chances. The Metro claim that one of the players the Frenchman wants before the month is out is Ilkay Gundogan, whom Dortmund are reportedly looking to sell for offers of around £15.6m.
So, does this potential deal for Arsenal make sense… here are FIVE reasons we think it does.
£15.6m for one of Europe’s most highly-rated holding midfielders? Good deal, that! Arsenal have been linked with a host of stars to solve their central woes, yet the likes of William Carvalho, another mooted target, will cost far more. Gundogan has won all of the major prizes on offer in German football with BVB, has featured, and scored in, a Champions League Final and has represented Germany at senior level – for whom he would surely have been a World Cup winner last year had injury not blocked his route to Brazil. Bargain.
We all know that defensive midfield is a major issue for Wenger. The Frenchman has a few options in the role, but none of his trio of genuine holders are of the quality needed for a push for the title. With the stats of Gundogan crunched against Mathieu Flamini, Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta, the German, despite coming back from injury, comes out on top in may key areas. The 24-year-old boasts the most chances created, the best shot accuracy and the greatest average pass length, while his pass completion percentage (85%) ranks respectively given his greater level of attacking intent.
As mentioned before, the holding role has been a major issue for Arsenal for some time. The Gunners are known for their ‘soft underbelly’, which has been ruthlessly exposed in the biggest games – think Liverpool’s 5-1 demolition job at Anfield last season. A ‘Claude Makelele’ is not ever going to be viable in a Wenger set-up, yet Gundogan offers defensive resilience and attacking flair, making him a long-term successor for Arteta.
As touched on in the last point, Gundogan is very much a player Wenger will appreciate. The Frenchman enjoys slick passing and neat movement, which the German ace brings in spades.
Slotting in alongside Jack Wilshere, Gundogan could add yet more creativity to the Gunners’ engine room, while his tendency to sit a little deeper will also help to shield the club’s backline in the biggest games.
Even though Gundogan has endured an injury-disturbed two years, he’s still very much a young player. At 24, he has a good few years before entering his peak, and so long as he can be kept injury free, the future looks bright. He could also become a part of Arsenal’s future, alongside the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey.