Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is finally seeking to address the issues at the base of his team’s midfield, with reports suggesting the club is to chase Borussia Monchengladbach’s Granit Xhaka and Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot in transfers which could total £52 million.
That’s according to Tony Stenson of the Daily Star Sunday, who wrote the Gunners have given up in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and will now seek to add some steel to the middle of the field.
Xhaka and Rabiot are rated as two of the finest young central midfielders in European football. Here’s a look at how they fare statistically in comparison to Arsenal’s current first choice, Francis Coquelin, in league matches this season:
|Midfielder Comparison: Coquelin, Xhaka, Rabiot|
|Apperances (Sub)||12||15||9 (4)|
|Tackles per game||3.2||2.3||3|
|Interceptions per game||2.7||3.2||1.8|
|Passes per game||46.9||81.3||59.7|
While they are both exciting talents, they’re different in terms of style. Xhaka is a much more forceful presence in the middle of the park, capable of carrying the ball from box-to-box, getting across the ground quickly and putting in strong tackles.
By contrast, Rabiot is more of a controlling presence with sharp defensive instincts.
Xhaka is probably better suited to the Premier League. The BMG man relishes the physical side of the game and is already a leader, having been handed the club’s captaincy despite being just 23. Here’s a look at the kind of quality he could potentially add to the Arsenal midfield:
Despite his obvious talent, Xhaka still has plenty to learn. As OptaFranz noted recently, sometimes the Swiss international is a little too keen to indulge in the physical side of the game:
5 - Granit Xhaka is the youngest player ever to concede 5 Red Cards in the Bundesliga (23 years, 2 months, 23 days). Blackout.12/20/2015, 5:15:10 PM
Rabiot certainly seems like a more natural fit for Wenger’s side and his mother and representative, Veronique, “travelled to London yesterday for talks" with the north London giants, according to Stenson’s piece.
If Arsenal can secure a deal for the 20-year-old it’d be savvy business. The youngster has struggled to get regular game time for PSG given the talent at manager Laurent Blanc’s disposal, but with his elegant distribution and technical class, he’d be a regular for most clubs on the continent.
Bleacher Report’s French football writer Andrew Gibney posted recently that, despite interest from elsewhere, PSG should do their utmost to keep Rabiot:
Andrew Gibney @Gibney_A
Biggest transfer story this winter could be Adrien Rabiot. He wants to play more, reported Arsenal interest. #PSG need to keep him imo.12/24/2015, 11:33:11 AM
Even if it was a loan move, the youngster could definitely do with getting some more football. At the Emirates, he could potentially be a fine temporary deputy for Coquelin, and Wenger could even use the pair together in some matches.
Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe feels as though the Gunners have genuine interest in the player, but he has concerns about Rabiot's attitude:
Can Barcelona Upset the Odds and Overturn the Deficit Against PSG?
Manchester United Perform Better Without Marcus Rashford
European Golden Boy XI: Monaco's Kylian Mbappe Leads the Line
Is Gylfi Sigurdsson the Best Midfielder in the Premier League?
The Beautiful Story Behind One Woman's 'Adam Lallana' Liverpool Tattoo
Can Neymar Become Barcelona's Greatest Ever Brazilian?
Is Gabriel Jesus the Next Michael Owen or the New Federico Macheda?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Passes 20 Goals for 10th Consecutive Season
Cover Your Eyes, Here's Liverpool's Terrible 2017 Record
Cover Your Eyes, Here's Liverpool's Terrible 2017 Record
Is Frank Lampard the Premier League's Greatest Ever Midfielder?
Luis Suarez and Leo Messi's Brilliant Goals vs. Atletico Madrid Animated
Can Gabriel Jesus Turn Manchester City’s Season Around?
Bayern Munich Star Arjen Robben Builds His Perfect Footballer for B/R
Should Manchester United Start Bastian Schweinsteiger Against Hull?
Inside the Premier League Transfer Window
European Golden Boy XI: Federico Chiesa Continues His Fantastic Form
Eden Hazard vs. Philippe Coutinho: Who Would You Want in Your Team?
Gary Lineker Has Spoken About His Hat-Trick in El Clasico, 30 Years on
Liverpool vs. Chelsea Is the Ultimate Away-Day Fixture
European Club Rankings: Chelsea's Second String Show Their Squad Depth
Transfer Deadline Day; Daniel Sturridge Is in Need of a Change of Scenery
Jose Mourinho Is Still the Special One Where Cup Competitions Are Concerned
Will We See the Next Global Superstar at the Otten Cup in August?
Would Marco Reus Be a Fitting Replacement for Sanchez at Arsenal?
Who's Been the Third Best Player in Europe Over the Last 10 Years?
Where Does an Upgraded Old Trafford Rank in the Biggest European Grounds?
What's Wrong with Real Madrid?
Ebbsfleet United Test Out Marco van Basten's Radical Penalty Replacement Idea
Premier League Player Rankings: Alexis Sanchez Rises, Eden Hazard Falls
Granit Xhaka Is Staking His Claim as Europe's Dirtiest Player
Who's Getting Ripped Off in Europe's Elite Transfer Market?
European Golden Boy XI: Pulisic and Chiesa Shine in a Team of Young Stars
Have Chelsea Won the Premier League Already?
Who Is Borussia Dortmund's New Wonderkid Alexander Isak?
Liverpool Are Struggling in January Without Sadio Mane
European Power Rankings: Barcelona Rise Whilst Liverpool Fall
The Story of Chapecoense's Emotional First Match Since Their Fatal Plane Crash
The Stats Behind Wayne Rooney's Record Breaking 250 Goals for Manchester United
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni: the Newcastle Debutant Who's Taught Neymar Skills
Why Manchester City Could Face a 'Kaneing' in Against Tottenham
Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Sergio Aguero: Who Would You Pick?
AFCON’s Oldest Player Essam El-Hadary Is Targeting the 2018 World Cup
Premier League Team of the Season So Far: Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez Star
Why Sevilla Can Win la Liga
Antonio Valencia Is Manchester United's Secret Weapon
European Golden Boy XI: Tom Davies and Gianluigi Donnarumma Steal the Show
Francesco Totti: 25 Calendar Years in the Italian Top Flight
Can Philippe Coutinho Lead Liverpool to the Premier League Title?
Paul Pogba Has Finally Come to Life for Manchester United
Should Your Team Try and Sign West Ham's Dimitri Payet?
Can Manchester United Keep on Winning?
FIFPro World XI vs. Alternative XI: Highlights from Our Pro Evolution Soccer Sim
FIFA Announce New 48-Team Format for 2026 World Cup
Is an Out-of-Form Neymar Letting Down the MSN Trio?
European Club Rankings: Good News for Real Madrid, Bad News for Barcelona
John Obi Mikel Is Moving to China After a Glorious Decade at Chelsea
The Top 6 Premier League Teams Are Making Their Mark Again
January Transfer Window: Where Do Manchester City Need to Strengthen?
Premier League Player Rankings: Man Utd's Ander Herrera on the Rise Again
Dele Alli Is in the Form of His Career, How Far Can He Take It?
AFCON 2017: Who Are the Front-Runners for the Golden Boot?
Zinedine Zidane's Amazing First Year in Charge of Real Madrid
Harry Kane vs. Diego Costa, Who's the Better Talisman?
Is Everton's Romelu Lukaku Headed for His Best-Ever Season?
Why Tomas Rincon Is a Sneaky Smart Signing for Juventus
Which Premier League Clubs Will the Africa Cup of Nations Hurt the Most?
Should Arsenal Place More Trust in Olivier Giroud?
World Football Big Predictions 2017: Who Will Win the Premier League Title?
World Football Big Predictions 2017: Who Will Be the Most Expensive Transfer?
In the Absence of Diego Costa, Chelsea Must Unleash Michy Batshuayi
Salute This Season's Premier League Fantasy Football Stars
European Club Rankings: Arsenal & PSG Tumble; Barcelona Finally Rise Up
Insider Buzz: Manchester United's Ashley Young Wanted in 3 Different Continents
Tottenham's Danny Rose & Kyle Walker: The Best Full-Back Pairing in England?
Insider Buzz: Chelsea Target Simon Kjaer as They Move on from Leonardo Bonucci
European Team of the Weekend: Vertonghen, Mertens & Luis Suarez Star
The Numbers Behind Dries Mertens' Brilliant Goalscoring Run at Napoli
Manchester City vs. Arsenal: FIFA 17 Sim Highlights
Can Zlatan Ibrahimovic Reignite Manchester United's Title Challenge?
Is Unai Emery on the Brink at Paris Saint-Germain?
Memphis Depay Needs to Leave Old Trafford to Save His Career
FC Copenhagen's Ludwig Augustinsson Has Shades of Luke Shaw and Filipe Luis
Premier League Player Rankings: Adam Lallana Enters, Ander Herrera Rises
FanDuel Premier League Preview: Arsenal's Gabriel Is a Must-Have Defender
Palermo Are the Worst Team in Europe
Transfer Tinder: Will Cesc Fabregas Swap Chelsea for Milan?
Transfer Tinder: Will Julian Draxler Hook Up with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool?
Transfer Tinder: Will Memphis Depay Leave Manchester United?
Believability Meter: Oscar to China? Danny Rose to Manchester City?
Has Pep Guardiola Made Manchester City Soft?
Insider Buzz: Fenerbahce Want Manchester United's Memphis Depay on Loan
Everton Surprise Children's Hospital Patients with Surprise Trip to Finch Farm
This Is What the Legends Have Said About Cristiano Ronaldo
European Club Rankings: Manchester City Fall Further After Leicester Defeat
At the moment, Rabiot seems the most gettable of the two. Xhaka is currently a vital part of a Monchengladbach team pushing for a spot in the Champions League again. He would cost a lot of money and, as is evident by his disciplinary record, still has so much to learn at the top level of the game.
Rabiot is a footballer who adheres to the Wenger blueprint and while PSG will be keen to keep hold of a player who is very much one of their own, it’s getting to a point where the France under-21 international needs to start playing regularly.
With the Gunners short of quality in this position, chances would surely surface much more consistently at the Emirates.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!