January Looms, Targets Presented: Etienne Capoue linked with a strong move to Arsenal

With the transfer window looming in 2 weeks it seems we may have a clearer picture to who we maybe seeing at the emirates…………or be linked with various names once again. Eurosport.fr (link below) believes Arsenal are the front runners of trying to sign Etienne Capoue from Toulouse in France. Why is this so key for Arsenal? Because he maybe the solution to a recurring problem in AFC where we have not had a player to stop the gap in midfield (most possibly he’d be a solution to the problem that is Abou Diaby and his injuries.).

Taking a closer look at Capoue, he ticks all the boxes for what Arsenal need at the moment in terms of a midfielder who is able to control the midfield and give his team mates the space to create the opportunities in attack. He is a very intimidating figure in the middle of the park for Toulouse and doesn’t shy away from going into challenges, a very physically imposing midfielder who make sure his defensive duties are first before anything else. A quick glance at his show that he’s one of the best players in the midfield (only behind Matuidi):

Defensive:

Apps=16 Total Per game
Tackle 38 2.4
Interceptions 37 2.3
Fouls 26 1.6
Off Won 5 0.3
Clearances 106 6.6
Was Dribbled 7 0.4
Blk Shots 7 0.4

Offensive:

Apps=16 Total Per Game
Goals 3
Assists 2
Shots 23 1.4
Key Passes 13 0.8
Dribbles 14 0.9
Fouled 46 2.9
Offside
Dispossessed 25 1.6
Turn Overs 19 1.2

Passing:

Apps=16 Total Per Game
Key Passes 0.8
Avg. Passes 67.9
Pass Suc% 80.8
Accurate Long Balls 128/204 8
Accurate Through Balls  1/4 0.1

While he’s not the most offensive minded player he does keep his own area very tidy and provides a position for his team mates to dictate the play. If you look at his stats more closely though you will see his long passes are very good (he completes an average of 8 long passes per game) it shows that his passes are a bit underrated ( though Arsenal don’t play a long ball style it should still give us a better understanding that he can pick out a pass which is key for the style that Arsenal play). Overall, this would be a good signing for Arsenal, he fits the bill for a good defensive minded midfielder but does he actually take the place of Diaby? Perhaps not, mostly due to the fact he’s extremely defensive minded but at this moment in time that is what Arsenal need, a player with the ability to create from the back whilst keeping things tidy and creating the occasional play or two. The stumbling block here is the apparent transfer fee of Capoue which is rumoured to be around 13-14 million euros but it should be noted that Capoue is looking to play in the Champions League and our lure of Champions League football should be able to secure this signing. If Capoue is able to come in to the Emirates it will be a giant step towards a positive direction.

Article: http://mercato.eurosport.fr/football/ligue-1/2012-2013/mercato-arsenal-chelsea-et-le-bayern-munich-lorgnent-sur-etienne-capoue_sto3530182/story.shtml

*all stats provided by whoscored.com

Upping the youth talents! Dahlquist and Raage handed trials at Arsenal

New players could be inbound at Arsenal but not the type that most Arsenal fans are expecting. 15 year old’s,  Hampus Dahlquist and Jamaal Raage are both expected to be on trial at Arsenal in an attempt to bolster the our youth networks reach toward the Scandinavian regions (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc.). The next question becomes can they make it at Arsenal? Let’s take a closer in depth look at these two Swedish based players (or to the best of our knowledge!):

Jamaal Raage hails from IF Brommapojkarna, and is a striker that has the positional instincts to be very good at the U-15 level for Sweden. Fresh off of his first full start for the U-15’s against Finland (scoring 2 goals in the process in his first start) Jamaal was handed a trial at Arsenal in order to see if the 15 year old has what it takes to make it at Arsenal. In an interview with Jaamal after his trial he talked about the experience and what it was like to train and trial at a club like Arsenal:

“When we were with P97-national team and played as they had seen and followed me for a while. They then invited me to a week of sample games” says Jaamal.

“During the week of the Arsenal trained once per day, and played an international match and a match.”

on his trial: “It went very well for me, I’m very happy with what I performed during the week”

“It was a great week with many opportunities and it was great fun. I also got to visit some of the first-team players.”

Asked if he would like to join Arsenal if he would be approached to sign: “Absolutely, it would be a dream.”

Asked if there was any difference in the training methods between MUFC and AFC:  “No, both are fantastic clubs”

Full interview link will be posted below*

On to our other trialist, Hampus Dahlquist is a 15 year old defender currently playing in IFK Gotenburg youth set up. Apart from being handed a trial at Arsenal, he is also due to have a trial at the end of the month Bayern Munich. He’s also at the same level in terms of youth international as Raage but lacks a bit more experience in terms of being capped (being only capped 2 times once off the bench and starting once). Arsenal are not the only club that are looking at young Dahlquist as Liverpool, Ajax, Manchester United, and Hamburger SV are all looking at this bright youngster from Gotenburg.

As the weeks have passed so have the trials of these two young swedes as well. According to @goonrambler (the person to first break the story and massive props to him) both have impressed and will be invited back to Arsenal again (Raage scored 2 goals and also assisted one). It’ll be interesting to watch how these two youngsters will be approached by Arsenal, whether or not Arsenal approach them with contracts heavily relies on the fact of whether they can impress the coaching staff with that second opportunity as well. With the big clubs knocking on the door we may just see 2 other swedes added to our AFC youth roster along with Kris Olsson.

Raage Interview: http://www.expressen.se/sport/sanktan/stockholm/att-spela-i-arsenal-skulle-vara-en-drom/

Raage and Dalhquist info: http://svenskfotboll.se/landslag/p97/

Adrian Lopez: A Real Target or a Media Delusion?

Adrian Lopez has been a name that’s been thrown around in the media and been linked with Arsenal (claiming him as their number 1 target for the winter transfer window) as of late. Arsenal scout many talents around the world largely due to its extensive scouting network but is Adrian the correct transfer target for Arsenal? Let’s take an in depth look at the player from Atletico Madrid:

Contrary to popular belief that Adrian is a striker, he is actually a winger. This is where you bring “well he is a striker though!” nope not anymore. When Atletico Madrid had gotten the 24 year old from Deportivo on a free transfer where he was a striker at the time, (as he was with Oviedo where he started his career) many people believed he would be a back up to Falcao but it was completely the opposite and Madrid moved him to the wings. The move surprised people but it paid off with absolute dividends as he became a key player right away. Many people believed he was the signing of the season for Atletico as he drove many key assists and goals from a wide position with his ability to create space for attacks. So that’s him in a heart beat, a very good winger who can play up front given the opportunity as well but is this what Arsenal need? When we look at wingers we usually have to look at his defensive attributes and his ability to keep the ball and it has not been all bright news from Adrian this season:

Defensive stats;
Apps=6 Total Per game
Tackle 4 0.6
Interception 1 0.1
Fouls 5 0.6
Clearances 4 0.5
Dribbled Against 2 0.3
Passing stats;
Apps=6 Total Per game
Key Passes 5 0.9
Avg. Passes 22.9
Pass Success % 76.5
Crosses 1 0.15
Accurate Long Balls 4/4 0.6
Accurate Through Balls 1/1 0.5

Adrian is one of the players that has been performing poorly as of late and has been seeing the bench due to his ineffective play. It has come to the point where he has to rely on coming off the bench to prove his worth(he hasn’t been doing that too effectively either). Coming off a great season many people expected Adrian to shine bright this season as well but his poor start coupled with the coach still trying to find the position to compliment the tactical style Atletico play in, has meant its all been a bit haywire for the 24 year old at the moment. Of course when talking about Arsenal many people believe Arsene Wenger is the best at bringing the best out of a player especially when they’re performing badly but at this moment (taking into consideration what the media is saying) should Adrian be a player at the top of our list in the transfer market? A player who needs to rediscover not only his best form but his positional sense as a striker? I’d think if Arsenal were looking for a striker we’d be looking for a striker who’s already known for his positional sense and focused more towards creating an impact for us (almost like a Gervinho-type that is an actual striker). Either way maybe Adrian is a long term target for Arsenal but the thoughts of him being a target in the upcoming transfer window may just be a pipe dream made up by the media (especially if you consider a team like Arsenal who’s bad at set pieces, mixing in Adrian’s defensive abilities would be a recipe for disaster). The player himself is still a work in progress so this move for me would be just media hype move for now.

*stats provided by whoscored.com