Should Arsenal sign Yussuf Mulumbu in January?
Arsenal are looking into the possibility of signing West Brom midfielder Youssuf Mulumbu in January, according to The Mirror. The paper says Arsenal could bid £7million in the winter window, as they look for an alternative to the impressive Mathieu Flamini in defensive midfield.
Starting his career in Paris, 26-year-old Mulumbu joined West Brom in 2009 for just £175,000. Since then he has played over 150 times for the English club and has become a permanent fixture in the Baggies line-up. The fans have acknowledged his qualities, they voted him West Brom’s Player of the Season in 2011. Despite playing for the French youth teams, Mulumbu pledged his international allegiances to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008, and has since earned 20 caps.
Amongst many qualities, Mulumbu is the king of the interception. In nine Premier League games this season he’s managed to intercept the ball on 30 occasions – the third most of any Premier League player. His ability to read the game well and break up the play makes him the perfect shield for a defence. The DR Congo international is also very comfortable on the ball, completing 442 passes with 86% accuracy – the tenth most in the league. He impresses in duels, particularly take-ons – managing to be successful with 18 so far this season – with an 88% success rate. Current Arsenal duo Flamini and Arteta have managed just five take-ons between them.
Arsenal have often been criticised for their lack of strength in midfield. Powerful midfielders such as Abou Diaby and Alex Song have not been directly replaced, and Arsenal are often short of grit in the holding midfield roles. With Arteta just back from injury and Flamini injured, there is no real senior option to fill such a void, and having nobody play in this position leaves Arsenal vulnerable on the counter-attack, as proven by Chelsea on Tuesday night.
Whilst Arsenal have attacking talent in abundance, more defensively sound midfielders in the squad would give the others more freedom to do what they do best. On Tuesday, Ramsey and Wilshere were forced to play in deeper midfield roles, restricting their attacking potential.
Arsenal fans will be worried with Flamini now out for important games including fixtures against Liverpool, Borrusia Dortmund and Manchester United. Adding a player like Mulumbu in January could help ease these concerns when the injury list grows.
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