Five alternative midfielders if Arsenal are priced out of Odegaard deal
It has hardly been two months since Martin Odegaard switched Real Madrid’s white for Arsenal’s red and white jersey. But it did not take him too long to already be considered as a “fan favourite.”
The Norwegian, who was handed the responsibility of leading his national team as a skipper this month, has been exceptional for Arsenal. In his short spell in the Premier League, Odegaard makes 2.09 key passes and has an expected assists (xA) total of 0.15 per 90 minutes.
When placed among some of the best in the league, his true quality is clearly evident. Kai Havertz, for whom Chelsea broke their transfer record for, makes one key pass and records 0.10 expected assists.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has a rating of 3.41 and 0.41, Mason Mount has a rating of 2.95 and 0.22, Jack Grealish’s is 3.46 and 0.37 while Man Utd’s Bruno Fernandes has a rating of 2.96 and 0.35.
However, when you consider that Odegaard joined Arsenal roughly just two months ago and plays for a team who is shy of scoring goals, his stats are quite impressive. The potential is there and everyone can see it.
It is not a case of “if” Arsenal fans would like the Real Madrid loanee to sign for their team permanently. If they had the power and financial muscle, it is pretty much obvious that the cheque would arrive at Florentino Pérez’s office in no time.
However, reality does not work like that. Real Madrid are in a rebuilding process similar to what Arsenal will try to do this summer. As a result, keeping Odegaard would make sense for Real Madrid.
Thus, we look at alternatives that might be better for our beloved owner Stan Kroenke’s pocket as well as for strengthening Mikel Arteta’s squad for next season.
Progressive passes: 4.81
Passes under pressure: 8.64
Dribbles completed: 2.42
Successful dribble %: 51.7
Ball recoveries: 7.51
f the Gunners sign Fulgini, they can expect a midfielder who is a good dribbler and passer but not someone who can be relied upon when the team does not have the possession. He is valued at €11 million by the Transfermarkt. His age and valuation makes him an enticing player to at least have an eye on.
Most goals from outside the box in the last 5 seasons of the top5 leagues:
15 De Bruyne
- Suso (Sevilla): Anybody who is a Premier League purist must be familiar with Suso. The Spaniard made 21 appearances for current champions of England, Liverpool.
However, he only had a goal and an assist to show from his three-year spell in Merseyside. Although it did not work out in England for him, he showed what a quality player he is elsewhere.
The 27-year-old had 60 goal involvements in 153 appearances for AC Milan. He has 11 for his current club Sevilla, in 57 appearances.
He joined the Spanish outfit on an 18-month loan in January 2020, but will definitely move to Spain, due to an obligation to buy on his contract inserted by his parent club AC Milan.
With Suso’s signing, Arsenal can better their goalscoring output from the set-pieces. The former Liverpool man has built a name for himself in Italy and Spain due to his precise free-kicks and corners. At 27, his age might not appeal to Arsenal, but his experience can. Below are his statistics that we collected from Fbref.com:
Arsenal fans can’t judge Arteta on this strangest Decision and seasons
As I write this, Arsenal currently reside way down in 9th position. Under normal circumstances, that would be wholly unacceptable, but’s what’s been normal of late? Not only has our club been going through a huge restructuring, and transitional process, it’s also been a completely bonkers league season.
Many of you keep thinking I am an Arteta fanboy because I keep defending him, but that’s only because I like to look at the situation in context. Regardless of any situation though, EVERY manager at some point needs to be judged on results. I just think it’s still too early to fully judge Arteta given what he inherited, the fact it was as recent as 2 months ago he only finally managed to offload a huge chunk of deadwood that were causing problems, and that he’s only had one main transfer window.
So, although I think Arteta needs more time, I do also think he has earned it. Yes, our league form hasn’t been great, but it isn’t reflective of the progress that we have made thus far. Under Emery it was dead, there was nothing positive in keeping him, whereas Arteta has been winning trophies, massive improvement against the top sides, much better defending, strong discipline, and huge improvement in our mentality. Post Xmas our attack has also massively improved as well, and it’s actually our poor finishing that’s costing us, more than anything. There are enough positives there for us to see what Arteta could do with a bit more time, and more of his own players.
I have already written enough articles already on our progress under Arteta within context, but another area where I feel “context” is needed, is this bizarre league season. Government restrictions have affected all managers, but more so for inexperienced managers. Managers like Arteta haven’t even experienced a normal pre-season yet, whereas the likes of Klopp, Mourinho, Pep, etc. have had years to hone their tactics, style, player management, pre-season scheduling, etc. Whilst I do not like looking at other club’s struggles, as if deflecting from our own, one surely has to accept that this is a strange season as well, and maybe we can cut Arteta a little slack because of it? It’s easy enough to say we’re in 9th with 11 defeats, sack Arteta, but how are other clubs faring?
Liverpool are only two places, and 4 points above us in 7th, with 9 defeats, and they’re the current league champions! They haven’t won a home league game since 16th December, a horrific home run which includes 6 straight defeats, and one league goal in their last 7 home games! Klopp is a far more experienced manager, with a squad that is almost entirely made up of his signings, but are badly struggling.
Spurs are three places, and 6 points ahead of us, also with 9 defeats. Mourinho is a serial winner, of mass experience, but boy are Spurs struggling as well, and not just domestically, after crashing out of Europe to an inferior team as well. Not so easy coming back from 3 nil down, even when you only need one goal!
What’s going on at West Ham as well? Moyes has done nothing for years, West Ham as a club along with their fans is always a very unstable relationship, yet out of nowhere, they have got a great shout of Champions League football next season. It’s insane that after 29 games they are only 2 points off 4th, and 8 points off second.
Yet another baffling tale is Sheff Utd. They took the Premier League by storm last season, yet this season, they haven’t just been bad, but absolutely woeful! It’s like two completely different clubs comparing this and last season.
Even Villa, to some degree, have surprised everyone. Almost relegated last season, yet doing so well this campaign, and if it wasn’t for Grealish’s recent lay-off, they would be even higher in the table.
One has to acknowledge that this has been an overly tough, and strange season for even the best of managers, let alone a novice like Arteta, who also inherited an absolute mess of a club. There will come a time when we will need to fully judge Arteta on results, but it’s not quite time yet, and his detractors need start accepting some kind of context, in the short-term at the very least. This is the strangest of seasons!