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2.7 tackles, 5.1 long balls: Arsenal's latest midfield target blows Granit Xhaka out of the water

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Arsenal are on the market looking to replace Granit Xhaka and AZ Alkmaar captain Teun Koopmeiners is the latest name we’ve been linked with.

Xhaka has been at the Emirates for five seasons now and he has had his ups and downs. He is almost guaranteed to leave this summer with Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma seemingly his likeliest destination.

Arsenal will have to replace Xhaka with a top-quality midfielder and Koopmeiners is reportedly on Mikel Arteta’s wish list. The Dutchman is said to be an Arsenal fan as well, and that could potentially act in our favour if we make a move for him this summer. (Read here)

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However, is Koopmeiners really the right player to replace Xhaka? Let’s see what the stats say…

Arsenal target Teun Koopmeiners vs Granit Xhaka

As much as pundits, media and a few fans like to discredit Xhaka, the Swiss international had one of his best campaigns as an Arsenal player last season. The Gunners looked lost without him, and his stats show just how important he was for us.

Xhaka played 31 games for Arsenal in the Premier League last season, scoring one and assisting two. He registered 1.6 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 1.2 clearances and 0.2 blocks per game.

He had 0.7 shots at goal and attempted just 0.5 key passes per 90 minutes. Xhaka’s strength is his passing and he averaged 70.6 passes per game and maintained a very impressive 90.2% passing accuracy. He registered 4.2 long balls per game as well, which is a very good return. (WhoScored)

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Koopmeiners, on the other hand, was AZ Alkmaar’s star man. He was one of their best players last season and his statistics blow Xhaka out of the water.

The 23-year-old, like the Arsenal man, played 31 games in the league last season. He scored 15 goals and provided five assists, which is an outstanding return for a player who mostly played in defensive midfield.

Koopmeiners averaged 2.7 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 1.5 clearances and 0,4 blocks per game – all better than Xhaka. He had 1.6 shots at goal and 1.1 key passes per 90 minutes as well, which are again superior to the Arsenal midfielder’s numbers.

With the ball at his feet, Koopmeiners averaged 68.8 passes per game at 84.7% accuracy. Xhaka’s corresponding stats are slightly superior here, but the Dutchman averages 5.1 long balls per 90 minutes, which is a better return compared to the man he could replace at the Emirates. (WhoScored)

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The Insider’s View:

If just stats are anything to go by, Koopmeiners is far superior to Xhaka. However, it is very important to note that the Premier League is on a completely different level compared to the Eredivisie, and the Dutchman’s numbers will likely come down if he moves to England.

That, however, shouldn’t deter Arsenal from considering a move for Koopmeiners. The Dutchman is still only 23 and is nowhere near his prime yet. He is a real talent, and under the right manager, he could become a real star in the very near future.

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Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Yves Bissouma, Ruben Neves and Eduardo Camavinga to replace Xhaka. Most Gooners would be happy with any one of them, but Koopmeiners may just be the cheapest option, and he could turn out to be an amazing signing for us.

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