There are some very fickle Arsenal fans out there, and after hearing that Manchester City have recently completed the signing of Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan (via the BBC) many are seemingly feeling a little envious.
Pretty much every Arsenal fan was thrilled with the £30m signing of Granit Xhaka when it was first announced (via Sky Sports), but now that City have signed Gundogan reportedly £10m less, suddenly some fans aren’t quite as happy.
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We’ve taken a look at some stats for both players, comparing exactly how much bang each team got for their buck. Stats courtesy of Squawka:
Gundogan 88% – Pass completion rate – Xhaka 85%
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Gundogan 413 – Final third passes completed – Xhaka 183
Gundogan 78.11 – Average pass completion per 90 – Xhaka 71.85
Gundogan 53.55 – Total forward passes per 90 – Xhaka 58.69
Both players are pass masters by trade, so unsurprisingly they excel in this area. Their stats are pretty close, but you also have to take into account the teams they played for. Gundogan has spent years with a team that for the most part dominate games, Xhaka hasn’t quite been in the same position.
Xhaka has also played far, far more long passes than Gundogan, yet he still manages to remain incredibly close in almost every area. It’s only final third passes where he falls short, and given his deeper role in midfield that’s to be expected.
Gundogan 31/91 – 34% – Tackles won – Xhaka 56/137 – 41%
Gundogan 18 – Tackes won in opponent’s half – Xhaka 14
Xhaka is the more defensively minded of the two midfielders, which is what Arsenal need at the moment. It’s hardly surprising that he’s got the better numbers, and his power and size will hopefully see him adapt quicker to the Premier League.
Gundogan 55 – Interceptions – Xhaka 73
Gundogan 34 – Interceptions in opponent’s half – Xhaka 29
Another win for Xhaka, whose defensive traits once again come to the forefront. Gundogan won’t be asked to perform as much of a defensive role with City as Xhaka will be at Arsenal.
Gundogan 1 – Goals scored – Xhaka 3
Despite Gundogan playing much further forward, Xhaka has scored three times as many goals. The German has also attempted far more shots than Xhaka, but obviously has a much worse conversion rate.
Gundogan 1005 – Overall score – Xhaka 648
This one isn’t as clear cut, because there are too many things that need to be taken into account. Gundogan is a clear winner here, with the performance score measuring a player’s positive impact on games. Again though, you need to take the team each player has been playing for into account.
It will be interesting to see how much this score changes at their new teams.
Career injury history:
Gundogan 126 – Games missed through injury – Xhaka 15
This is where Xhaka really shines, and why everyone should be thrilled that we signed the Swiss international ahead of Gundogan. We already have a huge number of injury prone players at the club, and we really don’t need another one. A reliable player player who is likely to be always available is a huge boost, and Xhaka should be a huge boon.
Gundogan 16 – Caps – Xhaka 41
Despite being quite a bit older, Gundogan has managed to accrue just a third of Xhaka’s caps. Germany are obviously a far tougher team to break into than Switzerland, but Xhaka has been a key fixture for his national side for a long time.
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These stats really don’t show that either player is better or worse than the other, but definitely suggest that Xhaka is far better suited to Arsenal than Gundogan would have been.