Arsenal

Scouting Report: Is Wolfsburg's Maximilian Arnold the Right Fit at Arsenal?

Wolfsburg's Maximilian Arnold celebrates his goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg in Gelsenkirchen,  Germany, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentFebruary 12, 2014

Arsenal are targeting Wolfsburg's 19-year-old German youth international Maximilian Arnold, per John Cross at the Mirror, so here is a scouting report for Gooners interested in Arnold.

 

Proficient Shooter

What opposing Bundesliga teams have found out is that you cannot afford to leave Arnold wide open.

In a 2-1 win over Augsburg, he was given time to control Diego's pass, swivel, look up and shoot.

Arnold precisely placed the ball in the bottom right corner to the dismay of Augsburg goalkeeper Alex Manninger, a former Gunner once considered a potential successor to David Seaman.

Source: Bundesliga.com

When Wolfsburg beat Werder Bremen 3-0, Arnold lashed a shot into the top left-hand corner after running on to Ivica Olic's backheel.  

Source: Bundesliga.com

Arnold's natural goalscoring instincts kicked in when he got in front of Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Carlos Zambrano to poke home Wolfsburg right-back Patrick Ochs' pass for what turned out to be the winning goal.

Source: Bundesliga.com

The Ochs-Arnold combination worked again when Freiburg centre-backs Fallou Diagne and Immanuel Hohn failed to track a late run by Arnold, who diverted the ball past Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann.

Source: Bundesliga.com

The two takeaways you should get from Arnold's performances are his positional sense in the attacking half and his shooting efficiency.

Arnold's shooting accuracy is 57 percent, 17 percent higher than Olivier Giroud (40), whose shots per goal (7.3) is significantly more inefficient than Arnold (5.8).

Give Arnold a chance and he is likely to convert, while you cannot say the same about Giroud.

Source: WhoScored and Squawka

You might be thinking: "Is Arnold a replacement for Giroud?"

No. 

Arnold is at his best as a deep-lying forward behind Olic and is an industrious and selfless centre-forward who drags attention away from Arnold's runs.

The only time you would see Arnold up front on paper is if Wolfsburg copy Lucien Favre's 4-4-2 system at Borussia Moenchengladbach, where they start with two deep-lying forwards in Max Kruse and Raffael.

 

Hey Arnold! 

Arnold could be an alternative to Schalke left attacking midfielder Julian Draxler, who is a mooted summer transfer window target for Arsenal, per Bild (h/t ESPN).

League Only (2013-14)Arnold Draxler
Goals/Games6/141/14
Shots Per Goal5.825
Shooting Accuracy %5742
Assists04
Key Passes Per Game1.31.0
Pass Success %85.384.8
Dribbles Per Game0.85.1

Arnold is better than Draxler in five of the seven statistical categories. 

Subjectively speaking, Arnold is an elite prospect and still a youth international, whereas Draxler has superstar potential and has represented the German national team

The primary difference between the two is Arnold is in better form right now. 

Back to Arnold's suitability to the Gunners: He has started in a variety of positions that is a characteristic Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants when he is scouting potential new signings, per Chris Harris at Arsenal's official website: "We need a player who is versatile, who can play in different positions in midfield."

Source: Kicker

Arnold has played as a deep-lying forward, an inverted left-footed right winger, a left-winger and started in a deep-lying midfield role in a 2-1 defeat to Schalke.

However during that game against Schalke, he was anonymous and only made 19 passes in 89 minutes before being subbed off for Christian Trasch.

Arnold is energetic, presses intently and completes 85.3 percent of his passes, but he has a 75 percent fail percentage whenever he attempts a tackle.

Considering his goalscoring prowess, Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking is unlikely to start Arnold as a defensive midfielder anytime soon. 

Source: FourFourTwo Stats Zone

 

Why Arnold Should Stay With Wolfsburg

Sure, Wolfsburg are planning to build the team around record signing Kevin De Bruyne, who has started the last two league games in the No. 10 position, meaning Arnold will be shifted to the right.

But there are two upsides of that forced tactical decision.

It is a simple role for Arnold: cut in, shoot, rinse and repeat.

Secondly, he has a good connection with Ochs, the right-back whose two assists this season have gone to Arnold.

Even if Arsenal trigger his purported £8 [€9.7] million buyout clause, per Jack de Menezes at the Independent, Arnold should reject the Gunners as it would be more beneficial for his development to stay with Wolfsburg.

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.

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