We all want to see a star striker come to Arsenal in the summer, but we all know that we need to strengthen in other areas as well. One of those areas is the defensive midfield position, and in recent weeks we have been linked with Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin, Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez.
Here I will look at what attributes they need to have in order to effectively fill the role.
Passing – The incoming midfielder must be an effective passer. Not only must they have the ability to sit and provide an option when there is none going forward, they must also be able to play as a deep lying playmaker – being able to create chances from deep. This ensures that teams couldn’t block our offensive options and broadens our creative channels. Also, the man sitting in front of the defence providing an option to pass to means that we will not give the ball away as easily as we do, allowing us to have as much possession as possible.
Reading of the game – Countless times this season we have been caught on the counter attack. Our new midfielder must be able to read the game perfectly, and because of that, be able to position himself perfectly to stop opposition attacks. This would perhaps be the most significant effect on the team, as having a player with this attribute would almost certainly have guaranteed us at least a draw at home vs Dortmund, and could have made us stand a chance in the drubbings we have had against the bigger teams this year.
Tackling and aerial ability – Our new enforcer must be a good tackler of the ball. A clean tackler would be nice, but as Vieira proved, you do not need to be a clean tackler to be effective in this role. Winning the ball in the air is also crucial, as it would help us attack and defend set pieces more effectively.
Here are some interesting stats to compare the three players, from those statistics, it appears than Schneiderlin may be our best option, and he has the added benefit of being a proven Premier League player. This is a tough decision however, and Schneiderlin does not appear the definite better option than the other two. I’m sure Wenger and the scouting team will have an eye on who they want.
What do you Gooners think a new midfielder needs to bring to the team, and who should we try to sign?