North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have both splashed big money on new central defenders this summer – Ben White and Cristian Romero.
Only a point separated the two sides in the Premier League table last season, but it was the little club from down the road who got the better of the mighty Gunners again, for the fifth consecutive year.
However, the future definitely looks bright for Arsenal, especially considering that we’ve been willing to spend big money this summer. White has been our marquee signing so far, and the Englishman cost us a mammoth £50 million. (Sky Sports)
Tottenham, on the other hand, aren’t holding back either. Spurs confirmed the signing of Romero from Atalanta for £47 million yesterday. (BBC) That is a lot of money as well, and it will be interesting to see who the better defender will be in North London next season.
Ben White vs Cristian Romero
It’s almost impossible to compare two players who play for clubs with different philosophies in different leagues, but stats usually give us a rough idea. Here’s a look at how White and Romero fared for their respective sides last season.
White played 36 times for Brighton last term and he was one of their best players. He averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 1.4 clearances per game. He was dribbled past just 0.9 times every game, which is impressive, but won just 1.4 aerial duels per 90 minutes throughout the course of the campaign.
One of White’s best traits is his ability with the ball at his feet. He averaged 48.5 passes every game, 2.3 of which were long balls, at a decent passing accuracy of 83.2%. That’s definitely not amazing, but it’s not bad by any means. (WhoScored)
Romero, on the other hand, was one of Serie A’s best defenders last season. He averaged 2 tackles, 3.1 interceptions and 2.2 clearances every game. He was dribbled past just 0.7 times per 90 minutes and registered a very impressive 3.6 aerial duel wins.
On the ball, Romero only averaged 42.2 passes every game but maintained a passing accuracy of 86.2%. He attempted the same number of long balls per game as White, and stats show that they’re both fairly similar in possession. (WhoScored)
The Insider’s View:
If just general stats from last season are anything to go by, Romero is the clear winner. However, there are multiple factors that need to be considered while judging the two defenders.
White played for an average Brighton side who finished 16th in the Premier League last season. Romero, on the other hand, was the main man in a fantastic Atalanta side who finished third, just a point off runners up AC Milan.
To add to that, the Premier League is on another level compared to the Italian top-flight, especially in terms of intensity and physicality. That could cause Romero a few problems next season, while White already knows what to expect.
That could give the Arsenal man an edge ahead of the start of the new season, especially if he has a good game against Tottenham tomorrow.