Defensive Midfielder: Arsenal targets by numbers
After reported bids for both Fellaini and Bender, I think it is pretty obvious that Wenger is after a defensive midfielder this summer. I have compiled a list of all the defensive midfielders we have been linked to recently, and will give you my view on what I think of them based on what I’ve seen and statistics from last season.
Before we get to all that though, let me just give you a brief idea of the type of defensive midfielder I would like to see at the club.
If my DM was a woman, she would be Catherine Zeta-Jones. Nothing spectacular, but something beautiful about her presence. Having said that, I don’t suppose Catherine would be any good at bossing the midfield away to Stoke on a wet Tuesday night.
So leaving that analogy, I want my main man in midfield to be a leader, to keep calm and composed when we’re having a rough time. He must have the ability to dictate the tempo of the game by breaking up the play and making crunching tackles, he must do the simple things well and be disciplined, keeping the team in shape whilst doing his role too. On top of that, he must be able to pull a pass out of his locker as well.
So here is the shortlist for role (not including Catherine Zeta-Jones):
Club – Everton
Age – 25
Height – 194cm
Weight – 85kg
League Apps – 31
Value - £23-£25m
|Tackles p/game||Interceptions p/game||Fouls conceded p/game||Dribbled past p/game||Blocked shots p/game|
|2.6 (82)||1.2 (37)||2.6 (80)||0.4 (13)||0.1 (4)|
|Key Passes p/game||Dispossessed p/game||Turnovers p/game||Pass success %||Through Ball success|
|1.3 (40)||2.4 (73)||2.5 (76)||79.3||0.1 (3/6)|
Fellaini seems the obvious choice for a dominating defensive midfielder; some may say that we’ve been missing since Vieira. He certainly fits the physical profile, standing at 6’5 and resembling the structure of a floodlight, exactly what we need right?
Well I have my concerns over his footballing ability. It’s all well and good wanting a powerhouse in the middle to throw a few elbows and pinch Evra’s balls, but if he’s going to give the ball away endlessly then I’m not sure I want him.
Fellaini was dispossessed a total of 73 times last season, and turned the ball over a total of 76 times, averaging the most turnovers per game in the Premier League.
Granted he was playing the majority of the season in a central attacking role, so you are always going to be more prone to giving the ball away, but I have serious reservations on Fellaini’s ability to keep hold of the ball and adapt to our passing game.
The statistics for last season may not paint a clear picture of Fellaini’s defensive midfielder capabilities, I’m sure if he was to have played in the deeper role his tackling, interception and pass success stats would be significantly higher. Fellaini certainly fits the profile for the sort of Defensive Midfielder I would like, but I have my doubts over technical aspects of his game. Physically he is everything I would want from my DM and would add more aerial prowess to a rapidly improving part of our game.
Verdict – Would be very surprised if Wenger isn’t in for Fellaini, if Wenger trusts his technical ability then who am I to argue? Fellaini has a move to Manchester United written all over him though.