Saturday, August 19, 2023

BREAKING ARSENAL NEWS: £50m "warrior" could copy Odegaard success

Arsenal have arguably strengthened in the key areas of need already, but it seems that Mikel Arteta remains unconvinced of his side’s title credentials as there could be more to come…

Who else could Arsenal sign this summer?

With Declan Rice providing a lucrative improvement to their engine room, it could be easy to assume that the Gunners could rely on the former West Ham United captain to hold down the midfield on his own.

However, when a fine opportunity arises in this current financial climate, it would be foolish to snub it, especially given how free-spending they have already been in the window.

As such, perhaps the availability of Inter Milan machine Nicolo Barella, and the reported interest from the north London outfit, could see them reignite the rumour and secure his services.

After all, there is precedent to believe that the £50m-valued maestro has all the attributes to emulate the success earned with Martin Odegaard, with perhaps some added defensive know-how.

How good is Nicolo Barella?

Having signed the out-of-favour Norwegian from Real Madrid, an unassuming loan spell before joining had few inspired by their 2021 acquisition.

However, it is fair to say that he has proved everyone wrong.

It has taken no time at all for the creative 24-year-old to skyrocket to the top of the Premier League’s star men, with his exploits even leading to Arteta naming his captain.

He would then lead his side to an outstanding title charge, falling short late on. His 7.35 average rating was the highest within the squad that year, as he forged 14 big chances, via Sofascore.

He would post 15 goals and a further eight assists, as one of his club’s two top scorers in the league. His manager sought to laud him:

“That’s the way he is. More humble and more hungry, a good combination. At 23 he has already had a lot of experience and a lot of pressure, especially individually. He’s played for Madrid and knows what it’s about. He does it all natural, nothing worries him, and he’s developing that even more.”

So, it should excite fans that Odegaard appears on Barella’s ‘similar players’ list, with FBref also outlining his starring attributes.

When compared to other midfielders across Europe, he sits in the top 6% for non-penalty goals per 90, the top 18% for progressive passes per 90 and the top 10% for progressive carries per 90.

This fed into his stellar Serie A campaign last term, where he posted a 7.08 average rating. This was a figure buoyed by his 12 goal contributions, 85% pass accuracy, 1.6 key passes and 1.4 tackles per game, via Sofascore.

It is no surprise to see his steeliness praised as well as the classy play style that led to such fine offensive figures, as talent scout Jacek Kulig branded him a “little warrior”.

Although wildly different from Odegaard with regard to the actual role they employ, it is clear that their shared leadership, quality and tireless work ethic have led to such a comparison.

Should Barella trade the San Siro for the Emirates, and he proves half as impactful as the former Los Blancos star, this could prove another outstanding piece of business certain to take them ever closer to the elite honours.

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