Monday, July 10, 2023

PERFECT DEAL: Arteta could sign Odegaard's dream partner in Arsenal move for £37m-rated "maestro"

Arsenal are reportedly interested in Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, as the Gunners eye a midfield revamp this summer.

The north Londoners have had a successful quest in the transfer market so far, having secured the signing of Kai Havertz along with Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber who are waiting in the wings to be officially unveiled.

A number of quality faces to integrate with the talent already on show at the Emirates is the prominent hurdle standing between Mikel Arteta’s chase of Manchester City, and signing De Jong could be a statement of intent for Arsenal.

What is the market value of Frenkie de Jong?

The future of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been a winding road following the disclosure of the club’s financial woes and the requirement to sell players.

News reported by Arsenal transfer expert Dobbo via Twitter relayed that the Gunners have a ‘genuine’ interest in the Dutchman, adding that it would be a ‘tough deal’ for the Premier League side to pull off.

It’s added that there has been contact made between the club and the £37m-rated player’s representatives, if speculation is to be believed.

A report by GOAL earlier this year claimed that De Jong along with Ansu Fati could be dismissed in order to free up the wage budget at Camp Nou, with a reported €200m decrease required to adhere to La Liga rules.

How good is Frenkie de Jong?

Lauded as a “maestro” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, the 26-year-old has asserted himself as one of the top midfielders in Europe for his performances in both the Eredivisie and La Liga.

Signed by the Catalan giants in 2019 for a fee of £65m, De Jong has showcased his versatility throughout his career, with capabilities of playing both ahead and behind the midfield.

Deployed primarily as a deep midfielder, the Dutchman could be a revelation at Arsenal, particularly in the absence of Granit Xhaka.

The Swiss officially departed north London earlier this week for Bayer Leverkusen, leaving a gap in Arteta’s midfield that was occupied by a player with a recognised passing ability.

One player that flourished in playing in midfield alongside Xhaka was captain Martin Odegaard, who could find himself the perfect partner in De Jong, should he make the switch to the Emirates this summer.

A player with a respectable distribution, the Arkel-born gem sits in the top 3% of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues when it came to his passing strengths over the past year.

As per FBref, the 26-year-old averaged a pass completion rate of 89.5% per 90, as well as averaging an impressive 78.96 attempted passes per 90 to highlight his involvement in the game in central midfield.

While his ability in keeping things tidy in the engine room is laudable, his distribution going forward could give Odegaard the perfect technician to enhance his own game in the final third.

De Jong averaged a monstrous 9.91 progressive passes per 90 in La Liga last season, including 8.88 passes into the final third and 1.60 key passes per 90, via FBref.

Such strengths could bolster the Norwegian’s game in a more advanced central role as a high-scoring midfielder, where he received an average of 5.55 progressive passes per 90, and put them to good use with his 22 goals and assists in the Premier League last term.

Having a competent ball player equipped behind him, the Arsenal captain could take his playmaking and final third threat to new heights, giving Arteta additional ammo in the bid to once again challenge for the title.

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