Let's let numbers pick Arsenal's next midfielder
Which players should Arsenal target in January?
Breaking news: Thomas Partey can’t really be relied upon to remain available. His latest injury, a calf or hamstring or something in his leg, is apparently set to keep him out for what’s left of the calendar year. And of course, since he’s Ghanian and a key member of that National Team, a fit Partey would miss January (and maybe a little of February) because of the African Cup of Nations.
With reports saying now that Arsenal have taken all of this in stride and decided now might be the time to bolster the Ricinho midfield (I tried it, and I think I nailed it tbh), what better time to check in on the deeper-lying midfielders of the world?
I looked around Europe’s top several leagues, as well as the Americas, and built a formula that prioritizes good defending, progressive passing and ball security, essentially trying to spit out the Jorginho/Rice hybrid that would look really, really good next to Declan Rice in Arsenal’s midfield.
As usual, my disclaimers:
This list is created relying fully on statistics from this season. It’s early! Expect this to change quite a bit from now to spring.
Speaking of it being early, even lots of regular starters simply haven’t played enough minutes to be evaluated here. My normal minimum is 900 minutes, but for this week I took anyone with at least 600 in their league. We are missing some guys, I’m sorry.
I generally aimed toward pre-prime or early prime, so again you’ll find no 28+ players here.
Also, these guys are not all necessarily true number sixes. They stand out in the numbers I’ve listed above, though, and could have the traits.
I always encourage a healthy dose of the eye test before forming a final opinion on any player, so consume responsibly.
There is obviously a subjective element to any man-made formulaic ranking. But for the record, these rankings are based on performance across 22 statistics, each with different weight toward the final score.
All scores are subject to an adjustment according to league strength, so you shouldn’t have to mentally raise or lower rankings to make it more “fair.”
Now, let’s get into it, shall we?
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