Scouting Report: Should Arsenal Sign Ogenyi Onazi in the Summer Transfer Window?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 1, 2014

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 30: Olivier Giroud of France and Ogenyi Onazi of Nigeria compete for the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between France and Nigeria at Estadio Nacional on June 30, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Celso Junior/Getty Images)
Celso Junior/Getty Images

Could Lazio's Nigerian international Ogenyi Onazi—a 21-year-old, 5'8", 161-pound central midfielder—be an Arsenal summer transfer window target?

To address that hypothetical scenario, here is a scouting report on Onazi.

 

Grading Onazi vs. France: A

French central midfielder Paul Pogba scoring the opener was not the turning point in Nigeria's 2-0 round-of-16 defeat.

It was French central midfielder Blaise Matuidi assaulting Onazi and getting away with it. 

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 30: Ogenyi Onazi of Nigeria is stretchered off after a challenge during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between France and Nigeria at Estadio Nacional on June 30, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Celso Junior/G
Celso Junior/Getty Images

Prior to being taken out of the game by Matuidi's horrendous "challenge," Onazi bossed midfield.

FIFA.com

Onazi completed 86 percent of his passes, per Squawka.com, and constantly surged into France's defensive half. 

Squawka.com

FIFA.com

Nigeria's structure broke down once Onazi was off the field. 

vs. France; HuffingtonPost.com

Then-Nigerian manager Stephen Keshi, who was not offered a contract extension, vented at referee Mark Geiger's officiating. 

"I am not happy with the officiating," Keshi said, per Stuart James at The Guardian. "On two occasions, he [Onazi] had a very bad tackle and nothing was done by the referee."

 

Onazi Positives

Onazi is stout, plays with energy and has flashed box-to-box potential.

He stormed his way into the Napoli penalty box and chased down his rebound.

LegaSerieA.it/Sky.it

Onazi charged through on goal and clipped the ball over Trabzonspor goalkeeper Onur Kivrak.

UEFA.com/Sky.it

Throughout last season, Onazi had moments of genius.

Upon receiving Lazio right-back Abdoulay Konko's pass, Onazi flicked the ball first-time to put Lazio left-winger Senad Lulic through on goal.

LegaSerieA.it/Sky.it

An Andrea Pirlo-esque bullet-like long pass to Lulic against Fiorentina shows Onazi has deep-lying playmaking potential.

LegaSerieA.it/Sky.it

Onazi created three scoring chances or more in a game on four occasions, per Squawka.com.

Squawka.com

 

Onazi Negatives

League OnlyGamesStarting %
2013-142965.5
2012-131553.3
2011-1210

In Onazi's last three seasons, he has yet to play the entirety of a Serie A season (38 games), nor has he started 75 percent or more of league games in a campaign. 

Arsenal would be betting on Onazi's upside rather than his output as a top-flight footballer. 

One concern with Onazi is his frenetic pressing, which has seen him concede cheap fouls such as cynically hacking down Udinese central attacking midfielder Roberto Pereyra. 

LegaSerieA.it/Sky.it

 

Bottom Line

GENOA, ITALY - MARCH 26:  Ogenyi Eddy Onazi (R) of SS Lazio is challenged by Isaac Cofie (L) of Genoa CFC during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and SS Lazio at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on March 26, 2014 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Im
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Onazi is a tough competitor, a quick passer, a box-to-box runner and has a commanding presence in midfield. 

Presuming Onazi has not suffered a career-debilitating injury after Matuidi's thuggery, Arsenal should consider signing the Nigerian international. 

Onazi could be on an Aaron Ramsey-like trajectory. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com