Real Madrid's Casemiro Would Be a Wise Transfer Move for Arsenal

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 02:  Casemiro of Real Madrid in action during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 2, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are already stepping up preparations for next season if the rumour mills are to be believed, with Real Madrid's Brazilian midfielder Casemiro on their list of targets.

John Cross of Mirror Football reports that the Gunners are looking to bring in the holding player, along with team-mate Alvaro Morata, for the 2014-15 season—although it is not yet sure that Arsenal will be able to offer Champions League football to potential signings.

That alone may not put players off, and Casemiro would certainly be a player who would bring to Arsenal that which they have previously lacked.

 

A Tough Season

Any opinions of Casemiro are largely going to have been forged before this season; he's played a minimal role for Real Madrid, not making a single league start yet and only doing so once in the Champions League.

Casemiro's only meaningful start for Real this season came in the Champions League vs Galatasaray
Casemiro's only meaningful start for Real this season came in the Champions League vs GalatasarayDenis Doyle/Getty Images

Of course, with such a talented bunch of team-mates to contend with it was never going to be easy for the 22-year-old to break into the side, but the long-term absence of Sami Khedira would have been seen as an opportunity for him to feature more often.

Casemiro, though, only played in three league games between mid-September and the end of March, struggling for game time ahead of the likes of Illarra, Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric.

 

Where He Fits

Casemiro is a defensive midfielder, a technical player but one who is capable of making big challenges, holding his position and protecting the back line.

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 18:  Tim Hoogland of Schalke is challenged by Casemiro of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, second leg match between Real Madrid and FC Schalke 04 at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 18, 2014 in Madrid, Spai
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Earlier in the campaign, when he managed sporadic minutes in the league, Real were playing an obvious 4-2-3-1—similar to Arsenal's, in fact—where Casemiro featured as one of the double-pivot midfielders. A tactical switch since then often sees Real play 4-3-3, with just one holding player. Casemiro hasn't often been seen in that role, only entering games at the expense of a more attack-minded player to shore things up when games are already safe.

He's a controlled, composed presence on the ball, not overly adventurous (this season, at least, perhaps understandably) and not really the type to come on and have an immediate impact in a game Real are comfortably winning.

As a regular, protective player though, he can certainly bring more awareness to Arsenal's midfield than has been offered of late by the likes of Mikel Arteta.

 

What More They Need

New players alone won't solve Arsenal's problems; the gaps between midfield and defensive lines have been startlingly large and open at times, with the players slow to react to fast transitions by opposition players. Wenger needs to adjust his tactics and expectations in line with that if Arsenal are to improve.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 12:  Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal signals during the FA Cup Semi-Final match between Wigan Athletic and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on April 12, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

However, a defensive-midfield addition such as Casemiro is a good place to start, especially if paired beside a mobile, forward-thinking player—such as Aaron Ramsey—who also has the physical capacity to quickly get back into position when the ball is lost.

Arsenal have work to do this season before they worry about the summer, but if Arsenal are looking at Real's young talent, then Casemiro is inarguably far more important to them than the oft-linked Alvaro Morata might be.