So Arsenal’s pre-season has been up and running this week as the Gunners receive their first injury setback. Centre back Thomas Vermaelen is set to miss the start of the new campaign as he suffered a chronic back problem and will also sit out Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the Far East which starts this Saturday. So don’t be surprised in the coming days if Arsenal were linked with another defender (probably a world class one, for an outrageous sum).
Albeit, there has been one decent defender and probably the only player Arsenal could afford who has been linked with a more to the Emirates this summer. So how about a rumour titled ‘Arsenal are back in for Swansea City skipper Ashley Williams for a hefty £10m as Vermaelen is injured’, in the next few days? Is that a good move, or should Arsenal be content with what they have in the defensive department?
Having Williams in the team means, Wenger will have to either drop Laurent Koscielny or Per Mertesacker from the team (Leaving Vermaelen out of the picture completely). Leaving out Mertesacker will be a disastrous option for Wenger, as the German has proved to be one of the consistent defenders across the Premier League. This leaves Koscielny as the obvious option to cut out to make way for Williams. We will look at some stats here:
In the previous season Koscielny did not play his full quota of matches, appearing only 25 times in the last version of the Premier League. This is mainly due to Vermaelen’s involvement and his mistakes early on in the season. But, Williams appeared 37 times (being the team’s captain) last season, he will definitely not, get to shed his sweat in every occasion for the Gunners.
When it comes to winning duels, Koscielny, with his success rate of 66%, is clearly way ahead of Williams, who is lagging with 53% of average duels won. Although for a defender, it doesn’t matter much, considering average pass accuracy, they are in a neck-and-neck fight. Both defenders have a success rate of mid 80’s, Williams with 86% and Koscielny with 83%. But with a 40% of average shot accuracy, Koscielny is miles ahead than Williams, who is far behind with only 21% of shot accuracy.
The only part where Williams is in an advantageous position is Average Defensive actions. Koscielny is lagging here with only 7, whereas the Welsh defender has scored 15.
So, keeping the comparison in mind, we must conclude that, bidding for a 28-year old defender, who will not feature in every game, is not a deal to be worth off. Adding to that, there is Vermaelen as the third choice defender, who although had a poor season, has every potential in the bag to ward off his poor run and fight for a regular first team slot. The arsenal board should keep in mind that, Williams is 28-years old and thus will hardly have any potential buyer after his contracts runs down in a couple of years. If Arsenal are to take someone to cover up for their centre back pair, they should opt for a player, tender in age and with the potential to serve the club for a long time to come in the future.
So, it will be wise for the Frenchman to abort this £10m deal (if he has any plans to sign him), and spend the money on others.