Scouting Report: Could Nemanja Pejcinovic Bolster Arsenal's Defence?

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Scouting Report: Could Nemanja Pejcinovic Bolster Arsenal's Defence?
Michel Euler/Associated Press

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has the option of spending £100 million in the summer transfer window, per Gary Jacob at the Times, but do not expect him to ignore economically efficient deals.

One transfer possibility could be bolstering Arsenal's squad depth by adding Nice centre-back Nemanja Pejcinovic.

To cover that scenario, here is a scouting report on the 26-year-old Serbian international. 


Pejcinovic is a 6'1", 179-pound centre-back, who would seamlessly slot into how Wenger wants his centre-backs to play: controlling the tempo from the back.

Pejcinovic completed 87.3 percent of his passes and had a 90 pass-completion percentage or higher in 53.3 percent of his games, per


Pejcinovic covers the field quickly, is a disruptive presence and routinely breaks up plays.

This was evident with him intervening at the last moment to stop Montpellier left winger Anthony Mounier from scoring.


  Tackles Per Game Fouls Per Game Tackles Per Foul Interceptions Per Game
Laurent Koscielny 1.7 0.9 1.8 2.8
Nemanja Pejcinovic 3.3 1.3 2.6 3.0
Per Mertesacker 1.2 0.3 3.4 1.7
Thomas Vermaelen 1.0 0.4 2.3 1.4

Despite Koscielny's physical prowess and him bossing from the back, he pales in comparison to Pejcinovic from a defensive productivity point of view.


Pejcinovic can interchange from a proactive ball-winner to standing his ground and using his size to his advantage.

This was exemplified when he altered the shot of then Sochaux centre-forward Giovanni Sio (now with Basel), causing the Ivorian international to drag the ball wide.


What makes Pejcinovic an all-round centre-back is his anticipation ability, hence why he is great at winning contested and uncontested headers. 


  Headers Won Contested Headers Headers Won % Headers Won Per Game
Laurent Koscielny 52 98 53.1 1.6
Nemanja Pejcinovic 46 66 69.7 3.1
Per Mertesacker 96 142 67.6 2.7
Thomas Vermaelen 33 53 62.3 2.4


Pejcinovic has vintage Nemanja Vidic-like moments and then abruptly morphs into Sebastien Squillaci.

Pejcinovic scored an own goal after trying to clear the pass of Marseille's Sochaux loanee Jordan Ayew.


When Pejcinovic dribbled out of defence, he was stripped of the ball, leading to then-Evian Thonon Gaillard centre-forward Kevin Berigaud (now with Montpellier) scoring.


Pejcinovic impeded Rennes right-forward Jonathan Pitroipa and was sent off for a last-man foul.


Pejcinovic's inconsistencies have resulted in him never playing for a major team in a top European league. 

While his statistics are elite, keep in mind he only started 14 Ligue 1 games in an injury-interrupted campaign, so it is a smaller sample size when compared to Koscielny and Mertesacker. 

Prior to this season, Pejcinovic had never averaged 2.9 tackles and interceptions or more per game, meaning there are doubts over his ability to re-produce his first-rate ball-winning output. 

Bottom Line

Pejcinovic is a second-tier centre-back, who has yet to renew his contract at Nice and could exercise his Bosman right to a free transfer. 

Wenger has a history of signing free agents from French teams. 

  • Yaya Sanogo (Auxerre; 2013)
  • Marouane Chamakh (Bordeaux; 2010)
  • Mathieu Flamini (Marseille; 2004)
  • Guillaume Warmuz (Lens; 2003)
  • Guy Demel (Nimes; 2000)

Pejcinovic would be a cheap squad addition to Arsenal. 


Statistics via

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