Scouting Report: Could Aaron Ramsey's Backup at Arsenal Be Prince Oniangue?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentApril 7, 2014

Stade de Reims' midfielder Prince Oniangue, left, challenges for the ball with Marseille's defender Benjamin Mendy during their League One soccer match, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Claude Paris

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger needs to make several signings during the summer transfer window, and one suggested transfer target is Reims central midfielder Prince Oniangue. Would Wenger be gutsy enough to sign Oniangue to back up Aaron Ramsey? To cover that scenario, here is a scouting report on Oniangue, a 25-year-old French-born Congolese international.



Oniangue is a 6'2", 172-pound central midfielder who has the license to push forward while Reims teammate Grzegorz Krychowiak shields the back four.


Oniangue's athleticism and timely runs into the opposing penalty box are the reasons he is constantly open. He got airborne when he headed past Valenciennes goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau in Reims' 1-1 draw:


Oniangue was balanced and brawny during a play in Reims' 3-2 defeat to Monaco. 

With his back to goal, he received a pass from Reims right-winger Odair Fortes, swivelled, skipped past Monaco centre-back Ricardo Carvalho's challenge and outmuscled Monaco centre-back Eric Abidal.


Notice how weak Abidal was when he tried to impede Oniangue. Well, that is how Arsenal defend in big games.

In recent memory, Arsenal have been overpowered by physically gifted players Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Nemanja Matic (Chelsea), Romelu Lukaku (Everton, on loan from Chelsea), Ross Barkley (Everton) and Yaya Toure (Manchester City).

The aforementioned players are not beefy, one-dimensional Tony Pulis-type footballers, as they can play Arsenal's technical style of football.

The combination of finesse and physique, the blueprint of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's historic Invincibles side, is what Oniangue possesses in his playing style.

In Reims' 4-2 win over Bastia, Oniangue's missile of a shot hit the back of the net before Bastia keeper Mickael Landreau completed his dive.


Lille keeper Vincent Enyeama, one of the best Ligue 1 shot-stoppers, was bailed out by the crossbar when Oniangue unleashed a shot during Reims' 2-1 win over Lille.


In contrast to the power, Oniangue classily curled the ball around Toulouse centre-back Serge Aurier and Toulouse keeper Ali Ahamada to score Reims' only goal in a 2-1 defeat.




Oniangue tends to shirk his defensive duties, as a player of his physical stature should be averaging more than 1.6 tackles and 0.6 interceptions per game.

The primary concern with Oniangue's game is his passing.

He is not involved enough in Reims' buildup play, which is why he averages 27 passes per game.

When he does pass, he is careless.




Oniangue's 77.6 pass completion percentage is subpar if you factor in the simplicity and limited range in his passing.


Bottom Line

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on September 14, 2013 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griff
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Oniangue can be Ramsey's deputy.

Who is Arsenal's most important player this season? Ramsey.

Ramsey has played only one Premier League game since December. But he is second in goals (eight) and third in assists (six) at Arsenal, and he leads the Gunners in tackles per game (3.5).

Wenger needs a backup who can emulate a vital component of Ramsey's game: scoring goals from midfield. 

Ramsey has scored eight goals from 19 league games, whereas Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla combine for 11 goals from 72 league games.

Oniangue is tied with Ramsey for goals but has outscored Wilshere, Ozil and Cazorla in league play.

The shots per goal and goals per game of Wilshere, Ozil and Cazorla are less efficient than Oniangue's. 

League OnlyGames PlayedGoalsGoals Per GameShots Per GameShots Per Goal
Ramsey 1980.422.15.0
Oniangue 3080.271.66.0
Cazorla 2740.152.315.8
Ozil 2240.181.26.5

Are Ramsey and Oniangue comparable? No.

Oniangue can match Ramsey's scoring but lacks his defensive productivity and playmaking.

League OnlyRamseyOniangue 
Tackles Per Game3.51.6
Interceptions Per Game1.00.6
Fouls Per Game1.40.8
Passes Per Game67.927.0
Key Passes Per Game1.40.5
Pass Completion %84.277.6

You might say, "Find someone who is more similar to Ramsey!"

But chances are that midfielder is playing for a UEFA Champions League contender. You are not going to find another midfielder in Europe playing for a small club who is anywhere near Ramsey's ability.

Look at how rapidly Ramsey has bounced back from adversity. Oniangue's career is moving onward and upward after he failed to make the grade at Rennes.

Oniangue has taken two career detours before fighting his way back into Ligue 1 with Reims. 

If you are to project Oniangue's career, he has the physical tangibles and the technical ability to transition into a more all-around midfielder.

Wenger signing Oniangue would be a sufficient plan B in the event Ramsey suffers another injury next season.



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