The Scout Report: Who Should Arsenal Sign On Deadline Day?

I’m sorry to break it to you but, I don’t think Arsene Wenger will be doing much, if any business in the final days of the transfer window.

With Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Shkodran Mustafi looking likely to leave, Arsenal need to replace them while also strengthening the very apparent weaknesses in the team.

So, I have outlined four players Mr. Wenger should be looking to bring in to add power and a defensive element to a struggling Gunners team.

Julian Draxler, 23 from Paris Saint-Germain

Wenger has been a long-term admirer of the German international so now would be the perfect time to get him.

The 23-year-old attacker is a quality player who would be the ideal replacement for Sanchez in the Gunners front line.

Capable of playing on both wings and as an attacking midfielder, Draxler provides the much-needed versatility as Arsene continues to switch between 3-4-2-1 and 4-2-3-1.

Having arrived in the French capital from Wolfsburg in January this year, the German went on to make 25 appearances across all competitions in 2016/17 for PSG, scoring 10 times and picking up three assists.

Draxler had a hugely impressive take on percentage of just over 73% while his 85% pass accuracy is very good for an attacking player as they tend to take more risks with their passes.

Creating 1.87 chances and playing 1.78 key passes per 90 minutes are numbers that could be vastly improved but playing in a PSG team with a wealth of creative talent likely had an impact on limiting these numbers.

The 23-year-old could well leave Paris following the world-record arrival of Neymar from Barcelona, which has seen his playing time limited to just 12 minutes this season.

His situation will not be helped by the imminent arrival of Kylian Mbappe from Monaco dropping Draxler further down the pecking order.

A move to Arsenal – likely costing between £35 and £40 million – would benefit both the player, Arsenal and PSG as Draxler would be a first-team regular, the Gunners would get a quality replacement for Sanchez and the Parisians could start to balance the books after excessive summer spending.

Steven N’Zonzi, 28 from Sevilla

The former Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City man has excelled ever since moving to Spain in 2015.

The Frenchman has developed into one of the best out and out holding midfielders in the world and would be the perfect anchor for the Arsenal midfield.

The 6ft 3in powerhouse is a dominant presence in the middle of the park and with his sole focus on defending, N’Zonzi is exactly what is needed at The Emirates.

When looking at the 28-year-old’s stats, it’s clear how much he has improved since moving to Spain and that he has all the ingredients to be a success for Arsenal.

N’Zonzi rarely wastes the ball with a highly impressive 90% pass completion rate in 2016/17. He also likes to keep his team on the front foot from his deep position, with 52.50 of his total 80.40 passes per 90 minutes going forward.

The Sevilla midfielder is also confident bring the ball forward himself, successfully completing 72.50% of his dribbles in La Liga last season.

He is also dominant aerially, winning 72.59% of his headers at an average of 2.88 per 90 minutes, providing a physical presence that Arsenal lack.

In terms of his defensive work, N’Zonzi won 47 tackles but lost out in 59. The Frenchman also made 37 interceptions, 48 clearances and 8 blocks in 33 Spanish top flight appearances.

These numbers highlight how dominant the midfielder is and the kind of positive impact he would have on Arsenal’s shaky midfielder. Having already played Premier League football in his career, bedding into the league and the Arsenal team would be an easy process.

With a release clause of £36.1 million in his Sevilla contract, N’Zonzi could be easily secured, especially considering the words of his agent earlier this summer.

“The truth is that Steven wants to leave this summer.

“Everybody at Sevilla knows that, the president and the technical staff are aware of it and we hope he will be sold this summer.”

Virgil van Dijk, 26 from Southampton

A quick, powerful, rock solid defender with Premier League experience is exactly what Arsenal need. So why hasn’t Arsene Wenger gone after Virgil van Dijk?

A target for Liverpool all summer long, van Dijk wants to leave Southampton and while the £70 million asking price is a lot, Arsenal need to keep up in the market and the cost of improving does not come cheap anymore.

Winning 75% of his aerial duels, the Dutchman would provide the dominant force inside the 18-yard box that the Gunners have lacked since the days of Tony Adams and Sol Campbell.

His 140 clearances highlight his no-nonsense style while his 56 interceptions in 21 Premier League games last season demonstrate his ability to read the game.

These stats are even more impressive when you look at the number per 90 minutes, with 6.80 clearances and 2.72 interceptions every game.

His 84% pass accuracy is also good as he can play from the back when needed.

Van Dijk also won more tackles than he lost, with 30 won compared to 25 lost.

The Southampton man is exactly the kind of defender Arsenal need, regardless of the price they must pay to get him.

Kevin Strootman, 27 from AS Roma

Arsenal need a more defensive minded alternative to Aaron Ramsey, that much was clear against Liverpool.

Watching the Welshman jog over the halfway line as Mohammed Salah scored was both shocking and unacceptable in equal measure.

Ramsey may score crucial goals but he is often caught in possession or out of position. So why don’t Arsenal find a dominant alternative to Ramsey who can both defend and attack?

The answer to that question is Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman.

After a couple of years of injury hell, the Dutchman returned to full fitness and had a quietly brilliant 2016/17 season while midfielder partner Radja Nainggolan received most of the plaudits.

In 45 appearances across all competitions, he scored six goals and picked up nine assists for the Italian side.

In Serie A, Strootman created 53 chances and played 46 key passes at an average of 1.71 and 1.48 per 90 minutes respectively.

The 27-year-old’s willingness to keep his side moving forward is clear in his passing.

While 85% pass completion is good, of his 1974 passes in 333 Serie A games last season 1195 went forward.

He also completed 62.50% of his dribbles for the Giallorossi in 2016/17.

Strootman’s defensive stats are also good, with the Dutchman winning 67 tackles as well as 45% of his aerial duels.

His 55 interceptions, 29 clearances, and seven blocks are also good numbers for a midfielder.

Able to contribute both offensively and defensively, Kevin Strootman would be a great fit at Arsenal, although the Dutchman would likely cost between £30 and £40 million.

About the Author

Dan Mountney
Hi, I'm Dan and I'm currently studying Sports Journalism at the University for the Creative Art in Farnham, Surrey. I have supported Arsenal all my life and grew up watching arguably the greatest generation of players the club has ever had. I hope my love for the club comes across in my writing and that you enjoy what you've read from me!