Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Arsenal: "Magic" £24m-rated target could be Arteta's own Grealish

Arsenal have bolstered in numerous key areas this summer, but there remains one untouched area that would certainly help push them to the next level…

Who are Arsenal signing this summer?

This entire summer has been all about Mikel Arteta transforming his side into one capable of going all the way in the Premier League, with the four additions made certainly set to aid in that task.

Declan Rice helps bolster their engine room, whilst Kai Havertz offers a fresh and unique attacking profile. Before his injury, Jurrien Timber was set to offer similar versatility across the backline, with David Raya now even adding competition for Aaron Ramsdale.

And yet, the wings remain untouched, despite the frequency with which the Spanish boss relies on Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka to stay fit and ready to start.

Perhaps he could alleviate that burden by looking elsewhere, with their reported interest in Brighton and Hove Albion’s Kaoru Mitoma a fine option to help bridge the gap between themselves and Manchester City.

FootballTransfers value the Japan international at just €27.5m (£24m).

How good is Kaoru Mitoma?

Having only really burst onto the scene last season, it is alarming the speed with which the 26-year-old has become one of the division’s top wide men.

This has been exceptionally present in his start to the current campaign, in which he has scored once and assisted twice in their opening two games of the Premier League season.

He is set to more than emulate his seven goals and six assists from the term prior in the league.

His impressive ability to glide past defenders makes him unlike few others, with exceptionally quick feet and an elegance that compares him to Jack Grealish.

It is no surprise to see the former Kawasaki Frontale ace having been branded “magic” by writer Seb Stafford-Bloor, with that wizardry a regular fixture nowadays to compete with the 27-year-old star.

FBref helps to emphasise this, including the Manchester City maestro on Mitoma’s ‘similar players’ list.

Then also, when compared to other wingers across Europe, the Japanese maestro sits in the top 6% for progressive carries per 90, and the top 3% for touches in the attacking penalty area per 90.

The former Aston Villa captain also stars in those similar areas, hence the comparison, ranking in the top 3% for progressive carries per 90 and the top 9% for touches in the attacking penalty area per 90 against the same group, via FBref.

However, last season saw him add tangible figures to his already dangerous game, playing a vital role in his side’s treble success. He would score five and assist 11 across all competitions, earning praise from Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard noted:

“I unconditionally trust all of them and I trust him [Grealish] unconditionally. He scored a goal and every time he had the ball, he was one against one when he took on the full-back all the time, all the time, all the time.

“But he has to play for himself and give the best of himself because that’s what I’m looking for.”

It seems that Mitoma not only has this quality to embarrass defenders but also has added goals and assists to suggest he could even mark an improvement on Grealish.

Arteta could be set to add the perfect counterbalance to their rivals’ star wide man, and in the process address that final area of concern.

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