Arsenal signing Thomas Partey last summer was viewed by many as a real game-changer. The Ghanaian, on paper, was everything we lacked in midfield, and his addition was expected to push us to the very top.
The Ghanaian played at the base of midfield for Atletico Madrid. He would provide incredible protection to the defenders behind him there, but at Arsenal, he has mainly played as a box-to-box midfielder.
That is arguably Partey’s best position. His performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford is a perfect example of his quality as a number eight, but Arsenal don’t have enough cover when the Ghanaian ventures forward.
Granit Xhaka is our defensive midfielder and the Swiss international, as integral to Mikel Arteta’s squad as he is, does struggle when it comes to protecting the defenders behind him.
As a result, Arsenal are expected to sign a new defensive midfielder this summer and Real Betis star Guido Rodriguez has been heavily linked over the last few weeks. (Read the full story here)
The Argentinian has made a real name for himself at Betis and he is expected by many to join a bigger club this summer. Rodriguez has a release clause worth £69 million, but is he really worth a fee as big as that? Let’s see what the stats say.
Stat analysis – Partey vs Xhaka vs Rodriguez
In the Premier League this season, Partey averages just 0.9 interceptions and 1.9 tackles per game. Xhaka, on the other hand, averages the same number of interceptions, but he tackles just 1.6 times per game.
Rodriguez, who has played almost the same number of minutes as Xhaka, averages 1.9 interceptions and a really impressive 2.5 tackles per 90 minutes in La Liga since the start of this season.
Offensively, Partey is the comfortable winner, which is understandable as he plays a more advanced role compared to Xhaka and Rodriguez.
The Real Betis man, however, averages more shots and more dribbles per game than Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder. The Argentinian also leads the charts when it comes to unsuccessful touches per game – just 0.6 compared to Partey’s 1.1 and Xhaka’s 0.7. (WhoScored)
In an ideal world, Arsenal would go for someone like Brighton’s Yves Bissouma. The Mali international is experienced in the Premier League and has fared incredibly well – even against the bigger teams.
However, he is expected to be on the wish list of a number of top clubs this summer. If Arsenal miss out on Europe, we may struggle to land him, and that will force Mikel Arteta and Edu to look elsewhere.
Rodriguez is a very good alternative. He may not be as good as Bissouma, but he is a quality player. He fills the void we have in the middle of the park, and if he is available for an affordable fee, it won’t be a surprise to see Arsenal make a move for him this summer.