Using numbers to find wing options for Arsenal
Who could be a good player for Arsenal to target this January?
Arsenal are in for a long and challenging run-in after this winter World Cup, and adding an additional wide attacker capable of covering for Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli may prove to be crucial.
It’s been exciting as an Arsenal fan to see Reiss Nelson play well against the likes of Brighton and Nottingham Forest, and Emile Smith Rowe has himself said he hopes to be available for Arsenal’s return to action on Boxing Day against West Ham. But Mikel Arteta seems unconvinced those two, and Marquinhos, would be enough to cover potential injuries, cup football and a potential deep Europa League run, all while pushing Manchester City for the league title for as long as possible.
With few concrete links (save for Mykhylo Mudryk), who could Arsenal look at for a January approach? Let’s check in on who’s looking promising.
Now, if you don’t follow me on Twitter, a few notes as we get started:
This ranking is based purely on statistics, a formula of my own creation measuring the past two seasons. No analysis would be complete without the eye test, so take some time to watch full games, not just YouTube compilations, before making up your mind on a player.
This is also an attempt to create a realistic pool of targets for Arsenal. These are players under 26 who’d likely be accepting of the role that Arsenal would have to offer, which is a role coming in off the bench and fighting for playing time, at least at first. No Vinicius Junior here.
Players are also curated by their current wages and projected cost, so although someone like Joao Felix might be a compelling target, he’s not included because he’s already on a wage that Arsenal wouldn’t take on.
While the idea is to find someone who could come to the carpet as early as January, please keep in mind I don’t consider all these players attainable mid-season. That’s a tough ask and my watchlist (right now at 112 attacking midfielders) would be much, much shorter if I cut it down that way.
This type of thing is only as good as the data available. So players are from only the 10 leagues available to me, a normal guy with access to public data. Sorry, no Mudryk, and no rising stars from the Jupiler Pro League.
What kind of traits am I looking for? A wide player who can add goal threat, be it via his own shots or setting up chances, who can also take on a man. But players should also be secure on the ball. The formula combines all of that to see who measures best across all areas.
So…who are some potential targets? Away we go!
Actually, I lied. I always like to set a baseline, so here’s Bukayo Saka’s season so far, on my winger/attacking midfielder template. Saka is having a very good season, although many would suggest he hasn’t even been his best, and that’s showing through in his chance creation and ball security numbers. He hasn’t been quite up to his normal standards as a dribbler, but we’ll probably see that kick up over the home stretch. And for reference, these numbers would still get our Starboy into the top 10.
28. Jesper Lindstrøm, Eintracht Frankfurt
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial