Monday, June 26, 2023

Arteta could boldly displace Gabriel in Arsenal swoop for £50m “absolute tank”

Arsenal are already closing in on a number of new signings to kick off this summer’s spending, with Mikel Arteta unafraid to throw big money around to bolster his team.

For all their success in the Premier League last term, they still came up considerably short of Manchester City, who went on to claim an unprecedented treble as they won the FA Cup and Champions League too.

Immortalised forever, it will be no mean feat to topple Pep Guardiola’s monopoly on English football. However, if anyone is best placed to do it, it’s surely his apprentice turned adversary.

Kai Havertz promises to add some additional firepower, whilst Jurrien Timber would provide depth and immense quality to the full-back and midfield spots. Declan Rice is another hopeful addition, leaving almost every role bolstered except for one: a true centre-back.

For all the qualities of the Dutchman, it is clear he has transcended beyond being solely a defender. Still, the Gunners require viable competition for Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba, and yet they could even seek to displace one should reports be true.

After all, it could be argued that the potential acquisition of Marc Guehi from Crystal Palace has the necessary qualities to take over from the hulking Brazilian, and is available for around £50m.

Would Marc Guehi improve Arsenal?

As a couple of bulky central halves, the England international surprisingly boasts comparable quality in possession to the 25-year-old who has shone of late at the Emirates.

Considering that the Chelsea academy graduate has starred for a far weaker team, maintaining an average rating of 6.94 buoyed by his 85% pass accuracy, 1.2 interceptions, 1.4 tackles and 3.6 clearances per game in the league last term (via Sofascore), his performances are made even more impressive.

Such form was foreseen though, with his former teammate at U21 level, Josef Bursik, having branded him a “brick wall” and an “absolute tank” to play with,

To think that this man is three years younger than Gabriel, and yet outperforms him in all three of these defensive metrics just mentioned, it is a scary prospect to imagine Guehi in a team as good as Arteta’s.

He would also prove a more reliable asset too, as the Brazil international committed two penalties last year, making one error leading to a goal, via Sofascore. Whilst the Eagles’ star defender made a sole similar error of his own, he could be regarded as far more capable in his own box, having conceded no penalties.

Placing a more defensively capable asset beside the elegance and poise of Sailba could help skyrocket this partnership to levels beyond last season, pushing Gabriel back as a remarkable first reserve on the bench. It would be bold, but Arteta is chasing squad depth that only rivals Manchester City can boast.

Saliba could benefit from such a move too, with the Frenchman ranking in the top 7% for pass completion percentage when compared to other centre-backs across Europe. That ball-playing excellence could be further improved with this 6-foot warrior beside him.

Such a transfer would no doubt add the requisite depth needed to compete further with the Citizens, whilst also complying with the club’s model of trusting in the quality that youth can bring.

Guehi’s future is so bright, and arguably he is already at a level above his potential new teammate. His signing could be the final piece needed to make Arsenal true challengers.

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