A couple of weeks back, I pinpointed Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam as the answer to Arsenal’s left-back issue. However, as often is the case in Serie A, Napoli have been outdone by Juventus and I have found a new man to top my wish list.
Brazilian Alex Sandro has been consistently impressive for the Old Lady since his €26 million move from Porto in 2015, winning the Serie A title in his first season and on course for a second this. Often deployed as a left midfielder in Juventus’ three back system, Sandro is naturally a left-back but, his versatility makes him an even more attractive signing.
At this point I would normally compare a player’s stats with their direct competition at Arsenal but, honestly, there is no point this week. Sandro is world class, one of the best left backs in modern football and is without a shadow of a doubt a cut above both Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs.
Sandro’s attacking mindset is clear for all to see when looking at his stats in Serie A this campaign. The 26-year-old has scored twice, assisting four times: exactly the same numbers posted by Gunners winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the same number of games. Sandro has an impressive pass completion of 84% but, he has created a ridiculous 43 chances so far this term. To put that into perspective, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott have managed just 37 combined. The Brazilian also has a 68% successful take on rate.
Defensively, Sandro’s tackling is an area that needs work, winning 38 tackles and losing out in 54 but, you all know the Maldini quote I use so often. However, the rest of his defensive stats are good. Despite standing at just 5ft 11in, the former Porto man has won 66% of his aerial duels this season, something that will always go down well at The Emirates. The Brazilian has also made 50 interceptions and 57 clearances, proving he is built in the mould of a modern day full-back, strong both offensively and defensively.
The most crucial number that Sandro has posted this season is actually zero – zero defensive errors leading to goals. Defensive mistakes have cost Arsenal dear this season hence why we are in the position we are in now. Cutting out these errors will be crucial to success next season and having a reliable defender such as Sandro will make that a hell of a lot easier.
Numerous reports have linked Sandro with a move The Emirates and despite most viewing a move from Juve to Arsenal as a step down, I genuinely believe this is a move that could happen. The price quoted is between £30 and £35 million and, although this may seem steep for a defender, it is money I would pay in a heartbeat. Sandro is one of the best left-backs in the world and would add much needed quality at the back.
The possibility of Max Allegri becoming Arsenal boss in the summer will only increase the chance of a move for Sandro. Let’s hope that this one happens.